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Eight Winter Fragrances that Can Help Create a Familiar Environment for Those With Dementia

If you are a Caregiver for someone who has Alzheimer’s Disease or another type of dementia, then you know how important it is to create a familiar environment and establish a routine. Dementia impairs a person’s ability to plan, initiate, and complete activities, which is why a daily routine can help reduce stress and make your loved one feel comforted and calm.

Our sense of smell can be a powerful tool for creating a familiar environment. Research suggests that when you smell something, your brain uses the same areas that it would use to process emotions and memory. These odor-linked memories are why certain aromas might bring you joy or bring about memories you didn’t even know you had.

Of the four seasons during the year, winter may arguably have the most memorable scents associated with it. As we celebrate the beginning of the winter season, here are eight seasonal fragrances that may help you make a connection to those experiencing memory loss.

  1. WINTER AIR – If you live in a part of the country where it snows during the winter months, then the smell of winter air might be familiar. Snow acts as a natural air purifier, which is why the air after freshly fallen snow has a crisp, clean smell. It may bring back cherished memories of sledding as a child during a snow day or skiing down a mountain at your favorite ski resort with friends.
  2. BAKED GOODS – Whether you prefer peanut butter, snickerdoodle, or sugar cookies, nothing beats the aroma of cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, and nutmeg that fills the kitchen as tasty treats bake in the oven. This scent might generate warm memories of long baking sessions with family and learning cherished recipes.
  3. PINE – The crisp, resinous fragrance of pine is a staple of the winter season and can conjure up images of sparkly lights, ornaments, tinsel, and, of course, Christmas presents!
  4. HOT CHOCOLATE – Sweet, chocolatey, and creamy, this delightful winter treat can bring back memories of warming up after spending time outside in the cold.
  5. PEPPERMINT – The sharp, cool flavor of peppermint embodies the season’s freshness and might evoke memories of candy canes, peppermint bark, and other delicious holiday treats.
  6. ROASTED CHESTNUTS – Rich, warm, and comforting, the smell of roasted chestnuts is synonymous with winter and a sign that the holiday season is near.
  7. CRANBERRIES – This deep red epigynous, or false berry, is commonly served during the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas. The sweet, fruity, and tart aromas might bring memories of cranberry sauce simmering on the stove, cranberry muffins in the oven, or creating homemade decorations for the Christmas tree.
  8. FIREWOOD SMOKE – The smokey aroma of burning firewood in the fireplace can bring about memories of crackling fires, cozy blankets, and spending time with loved ones.

Olfactory (smell) stimulation is a growing method used to create comfortable environments for dementia patients and can help generate memories and positive emotions. If you have a loved one experiencing memory loss, brighten up their living space with these seasonal fragrances.

Are you or a loved one in need of in-home care? Home Helpers® Home Care is here to help. For over 25 years, we have provided exceptional in-home care for seniors, new moms and families, and those with disabilities, illness, or recovering from injury or surgery. We’re here to be a trusted partner in your dementia journey, with a team of compassionate professionals supporting you every step of the way. Our services and care plans are customizable, so you receive just the right amount of care and can be adjusted as needs change.



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