Owners' Blog

Using Your Sense of Smell to Improve Your Caregiver Efforts

By Hilary and Greg Eldridge

Caregivers in Marietta GA

As a caregiver you utilize many tools to help you handle your care responsibilities in the most effective way possible. While technology, transportation, and other items are extremely useful tools that can help you to be the best caregiver possible for your elderly loved one, some of the most effective and beneficial tools that you have are actually part of you to begin with. Utilizing your own senses to help you care for your parent can enable you to detect potential issues and make decisions that are best for your aging parent.

One sense that can be particularly beneficial when it comes to your caregiver efforts is your sense of smell. This smell operates with every breath and provides you with a wide variety of information about your surroundings. Just by using this sense while in the home with your parent can help you to identify potentially serious problems you can address with your care efforts.

Some of the ways that you can use your sense of smell to improve your caregiver efforts include:

• Freshness of the home. Within the first few moments that you are in a home you can detect its freshness. A stale, sour, or otherwise foul odor could indicate that your aging parent is no longer taking care of their home properly. This could be the result of dirty laundry that has been sitting for too long, dirty dishes that are lingering in the sink, or a carpet that is in need of a good vacuum. This could also be an indication of issues with their climate control system such as mold and mildew in the vents.

• Spoiled food. Spoiled or out of date food is not only unpleasant, but it could also be dangerous for your aging loved one. Seniors are particularly vulnerable to foodborne illness and infection due to the tendency to have suppressed immune systems that are less able to fight off these infections or recover from them should your parent come into contact with one. Elderly adults are also more likely to consume foods that are spoiled due to reduced sense of smell, taste, and sight, as well as diminished cognitive capacity that could make understanding the danger of these foods more difficult. Take a few deep breaths in your parent's kitchen as well as in their refrigerator and freezer to help detect problems that they might have with their food.

• Body odor. The next time that you arrive at your aging parent's home, give them a hug and take a deep breath. Try to detect any noticeable changes in their body odor. This is especially important if your aging parent has always been meticulous with their hygiene. Smelling unpleasant body odor could be an indication that your elderly parent is suffering from cognitive decline that is making it more difficult for them to remember when or how to bathe themselves, or to change their clothing properly. It could also be an indication of a physical challenge or limitation that is keeping them from being able to handle their personal care tasks on their own.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Marietta, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.