How Easter and the smell of Lilac in Asheville, North Carolina has connected me to the seniors living at Brookdale Senior Living’s Dementia And Alzheimer’s Community.
Last month, The Scent Guru Group sent a young woman an Essential Awakenings Premier Edition kit for her to use after she lost her sense of smell after having had an aneurysm. Her father and son helped give her the "smell testing" on the 6 different smells. In the beginning, she did not recognize any of the smells, and now, she recognizes all but one (cinnamon). With a little more time and blind testing, we are certain that she will recognize cinnamon as well. We are sharing her testimonial here from Rosie Rosario of New York City: Essential Awakenings Smell And Memory Kit – Premier Edition About me: I’m a 4 time aneurysm survivor. These aneurysms occurred between May and July of 2017. After 3 craniotomies and one pipeline stent, I am happy to be alive. In the process, I experienced some challenges post surgeries….one being that my olfactory nerve was damaged. This had initially impacted my sense of smell and taste. Initial thoughts: I received the Essential Awakenings Smell And Memory Kit – Premier Edition on July 31st, 2017. Loved the packaging. The kit comes with six labeled rollerball scents, cards and scent strips. Initially I could only smell one scent, Mint. I used the cards, which notes each scent and gives examples of where we would associate such scent – example, Mint, “It grows in gardens.” I associate Mint with tea, therefore, I would remember a moment in time where I’d be sitting drinking this tea. My process, conclusion and my “scents” of it all: Thorough daily sampling, at least 10 min each day, I am happy to say that I can smell five out of the six scents. Cinnamon still presents a struggle for me. To make testing fun, I sometimes made it a game. I would engage my son to help me tests the scents. He would randomly pick a scent, roll some of the scent onto a scent strip (provided also in the kit) and would place it under my nose to detect which scent it was. When I had any trouble, he would say a few words to help me evoke a memory to make a connection with the scent. This method help me and it also helped me connect with my son, which is really great. I use this kit to help me pause, reflect, and to help strengthen my sense of smell. Think of it as muscle training. Through practice, and constant testing, this kit helps stimulate my brain. This gives me, “me time,” reminding me to continually work on my recovery; for that, I highly recommend this wonderful kit. To get to the point of smelling five out of six scents, it has taken me a little over five weeks. Never knew how much I took my sense of smell for granted. Hope this kit helps you and helps you bond further with your family.
Science Daily's on line magazine has reported that neuroscientists at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany have investigated which brain area is responsible for storing odours as long-term memories. As a scent expert, and daughter in law of a woman who suffers from Alzheimer's it gives me great satisfaction that scientists seem to be focusing more on studying the sense of smell and its link to memories. The impact and prompting of memories through smells has been evident to me during the 15 months I have been giving smell therapy sessions at assisted living facilities and senior centers to raise awareness of the importance of the sense of smell in our lives. With more than 550 attendees, I have been witness to quite a few recalls that would probably not have been prompted had it not been for the smells that I administered. Some examples: One woman at the Hebrew Home in Riverdale was prompted by the smell of fresh cut grass, but connected the smell with the memory of making pumpkin pie from scratch. She described in detail her process of taking out the threads and seeds within the pumpkin as it had been yesterday! Another woman who did not speak at all during a session all of sudden spoke out and stated that she had a lilac bush next to her house. She did not say where her house was, but the smell of lilac in the session prompted this memory. It was that one moment, and moments like that can be precious. The sense of smell is often taken for granted, and I believe it's so important to make sure you practice smelling every day in a mindful way: Breath in... smell the coffee or tea you drink in the morning, the food you eat, your skin, your leather jacket and build up your olfactory memory bank! To read the Scientific Daily article, please go to this link: <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/12/171222092552.htm>
"I use this kit to help me pause, reflect, and to help strengthen my sense of smell. Think of it as muscle training. Through practice, and constant testing, this kit helps stimulate my brain. This gives me, “me time,” reminding me to continually work on my recovery; for that, I highly recommend this wonderful kit. To get to the point of smelling five out of six scents, it has taken me a little over five weeks. Never knew how much I took my sense of smell for granted. Hope this kit helps you and helps you bond further with your family." - Rosie Rosario, New York City, NY