Dec 4, 2011

The Scents of the Season

By Monica Heltemes

The Scents of the Season
As I sit in a coffee shop by a warm fireplace (needed here in Minnesota!) and a pastry to eat, it makes me aware of all the fabulous scents around us, especially this time of year.

Scents are strongly tied to memory.

For instance, when I wear a favorite perfume, it reminds me of my husband who introduced me to the perfume when we were dating.

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Although sense of smell may be impaired in persons with memory loss or the memory associated with the smell may lose some accuracy, I still think it worthy to try incorporating with the person with Alzheimer’s that you know.

The great thing about stimulating the senses is that no thinking skills are required; only joy is to be gained. And it might help trigger memories.

This time of year some common scents that come to mind are: pine needles; hot chocolate or apple cider; peppermint candy; egg nog: burning wood in a fire; incense.

What other scents might you consider? Has sense of smell in your loved one remained intact or changed in your experience?

Monica Heltemes is a practicing occupational therapist and owner of MindStart™. MindStart designs hobby-style items, such as games and puzzles, specifically for persons with memory loss. They keep persons with dementia active, while giving support to caregivers, and are quick and easy to use. Visit MindStart (Activities for Persons with Memory Loss) to learn more.

More Insight and Advice for Caregivers

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room