You might not realize it, but your sense of smell is incredibly powerful and uniquely different from any other sense in your body. It is a primitive sense that plays a much larger part in influencing our emotions and decisions than our other senses. Continue reading to learn six ways to use scent as a powerful tool in the senior living industry.

  1. Memory Recall – About 40% of people aged 65 or older have age associated memory impairment. When your nose picks up a particular scent, the smell is processed in the limbic system, the same part of the brain responsible for memory, perceptions, and emotions. Scents can trigger specific memories. Memories provide a sense of comfort and home.
  2. Mood Lift Sundowning is state of confusion occurring in the late afternoon and spanning into the night. It causes increased agitation in residents, especially those with dementia. There are certain scents, like jasmine, vanilla, and lemon that create a sense of freshness and make you feel a little more energetic and positive. Lavender may also have some benefit in lifting spirits and reducing the sense of sadness and/or irritability.
  3. Anxiety Suppressor – Anxiety-reducing scents are great for resident rooms, treatment rooms, and even transport vehicles – anywhere a resident should feel relaxed and comfortable. Scents like bergamot orange, Roman chamomile, and especially lavender can reduce anxiety and elicit a sense of calm without the use of medical intervention.
  4. Appetite Stimulation – Residents may be on medications that suppress their appetite. What you may not know is that scents such as peppermint, citrus, and ginger oils can both reduce nausea and stimulate taste buds.
  5. Attention and Focus – Residents struggle with memory issues, alertness, and focus as they age. Peppermint is known to enhance alertness, focus, concentration, and accuracy of memory. Cinnamon has also been studied as a brain-booster and smelling cinnamon has been shown to improve scores on tasks related to memory, attention, and visual-motor speed. 
  6. Odor Neutralization – Strong chemical scents from cleaning supplies, or even air fresheners that just cover a malodor can be overstimulating and irritating for residents and visitors. Odor neutralizing scents can be used throughout larger facilities via the HVAC system, or even in a single room, to eliminate odors without adding an overpowering scent residue. 

Smell is a powerful sense because it directly affects a person’s emotional state which directly impacts quality of life. Scent is a wonderful complementary tool for care in the senior living setting. To find out more about Spectrio’s scent solutions, visit

LifeShare, a Spectrio business, will be at the 2019 LeadingAge Annual Meeting and Expo in San Diego. Stop by booth 527 and grab FREE scent samples! Have a specific scent in mind? Let us know: