A sense of smell can be extremely important to your senior loved one’s wellbeing and memory. Certain kinds of smells can recall memories: a certain kind of perfume or cologne, foods, or the smell of certain places. A sense of smell can also help us be alert of any dangers like something that is burning in the house. Smells can very often protect us from things like:
- Gas leaks
- Spoiled or old food
- Household chemicals or toxins around the house
Smells of Daily Life
For most of us, smelling is an enjoyable thing as well. Things like breakfast, certain parts of nature, or even certain places can bring back important memories. As we age, many older adults lose their sense of smell. If your parent is having trouble smelling their food, soap or anything else, it can be confusing. There are some things that lead to temporary or permanent loss of this sense.
Some of the things that could lead to a loss of smell:
- Minor colds or the flu can plug the nose with mucus, which hurts our sense of smell
- During certain times of the year, allergies and pollen can reduce the sense of smell Even certain pets can cause allergic reactions that can change how we smell
- Growths like polyps can block the sense of smell in the nose and even cause adverse symptoms like a runny nose
- Certain medications can hurt the sense of smell, including blood pressure medication or certain antibiotics
- Certain types of cancer treatment and rehabilitation can limit our sense of smell
Dealing with Loss of Smell
Losing a sense of smell can often be a sign that other ailments are bothering an older adult or senior. Failing to smell certain smells is often a sign that sickness, allergies, or other health complications could be present.
Smelling can also effect an older person’s mood and general outlook. Smelling is one of the many senses that we enjoy, and losing a sense of smell and the many memories they can bring about, could be problematic. Becoming depressed or suffering anxiety because of a loss of smell is not uncommon for older adults. Be sure to visit a doctor if an older loved one is suffering from a loss of smell. Physicians may have treatment options for those looking to regain their sense of smell.
It’s also a good idea to make life fun despite not being able to smell. If your loved one has less of an appetite, you could make food look more pleasing and arrange it on nice dishes. Having senior care services can greatly help with this.