Scents Stimulate the Senses for Dementia Patients
There have been numerous examples recently of novel ways in which carers of Dementia sufferers are making life easier for their patients. We’ve seen everything from Mexican dancing to a full scale reproduction of a 1950s British High Street. There is no doubt that, while there may not yet be a cure for the disease, there is no shortage of novel ideas for stimulating the minds of sufferers and making their lives generally more bearable.
The latest experiment which seems to be proving popular with residents at a Welsh care home involves matching fragrances to music and creating a feeling of well-being to help re-live holiday experiences. A professional perfumer from a fragrance company in Manchester has teamed up with members of the Halle Orchestra whom it sponsors to create complementary sounds and sensations.
In a recent session, residents of the home, which specialises in dementia care, were treated to a combination of Spanish music and the scent of oranges and then to water music combined with the smell of lavender. It seems that the idea worked a treat with a very promising reaction from the patients. The Spanish combination evidently made them much more animated and noisy while the water and lavender combo clearly left them far more relaxed and chilled.
Apparently, this new fragrance therapy is likely to form part of a curriculum for staff at the home which also encompasses other art-based therapies designed to enrich residents’ lives. For example, there is a piece of music resembling the build-up to a storm and residents interact with this using rain sticks. The perfumer has created a beach / marine type fragrance to coincide with this. As with all the fragrances used, this is sprayed onto individual blotters for each resident
The perfumer is used to creating different scents for everything from shower gel to after-shave so there will be no problem coming up with plenty more ideas such as freshly mown grass and even candy floss. She is currently working on a coconut suntan oil aroma designed to accompany music associated with a tropical holiday.
It has been known for years that music therapy is highly beneficial for dementia sufferers and there is evidence to suggest that, by stimulating various brain functions, it could slow down degeneration. Adding the fragrance dimension arouses additional brain connections which all need exercising if they are to stay working for longer.
Written by Ross Stevens
“Ross is a reformed tea addict who now gets his buzz from running and going to the gym. He is a copywriter for the digital generation and enjoys connecting with others in the industries he writes on behalf for.”
Ross writes for Care Home in Cardiff, part of Hallmark Care Homes