How Ambient Scenting can improve the well-being of aged care residents

Aurore Blake - Thursday, June 15, 2017

Scent is one of the most important sense when it comes to memory. Remember the smell of warm cookies from your grandmother or the perfume of your first love. Scents leave an indelible print on our mind.

How Ambient Scenting can improve the well-being of aged care residents

Because health care service is high in contact the physical environment has a crucial important in the patient experience. The way staff conduct operations are essential to create a specific image of the institute and to enhance the experience of the patients. Furthermore fragrances containing anti-bacterial properties will promote a clean and safe environment.

Improve General Well being

Scents can help improving the general wellbeing of patients, visitors and staff. Certain scents are particularly known to induce calm and relaxation and lower the level of stress. Our mood can generally be improved by 40% when agreeable scents are diffused. In summary diffusing scent can ease patient anxiety or depression, reduce patients' reported pain and discomfort and boost staff morale.

There are numerous scientific studies examining the effect of a pleasant scent in medical environments. One such study used a vanilla scent while patients were undergoing an MRI scan for cancer. Patients experienced 63% less anxiety during the MRI when the scent was used compared to without scent.

Another study found that paediatric patients in a hospital reported 58% less pain when there was a stimulating ambient scent.

Fight Mental Health Issues

On average person can identify approx. 10,000 different smells, ranging from fresh cut grass to baked bread. Smelling those scent will stimulates the brain and nervous system and trigger a reaction of excitement or calm. Furthermore the scents will stimulate different moods and memories.

A unique application of ambient scenting is within patients with Alzheimer’s. People with Alzheimer’s disease can’t recall short term memories and are often anxious with trouble to sleep. A calming scent like chamomile combined with the soothing scent of lavender help reduce anxiety and promote better sleep.

A study conducted by Stockholm University revealed that smells have the tendency to take someone further back in time than verbal or visual memory cues. When introduced to a smell memory cue, participants in the study, whose average age was 75, most frequently recalled memories from early childhood.

Increase Appetites

Food and scent are strongly linked together. When you smell a mouth-watering scent such as melted chocolate or creamy pizza you are automatically hungry. This can be very beneficial for aged care residents who often lose their appetite.

A delicious food scent can reconnect them to the pleasure of eating and tasting what is inside their plates. This will prevent rapid weight loss and malnutrition in dementia patients who often forget to eat and drink regularly.

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