Smells can bring on a flood of memories almost instantaneously. Your brain registers these smells in its olfactory bulb, which is part of the limbic system. The limbic system is often called the “emotional brain” because it’s so closely related to memory and feeling. When you first smell a new scent, you link it to an event, a person, a thing or even a moment. Your brain forges a link between the smell and a memory. For instance, the smell of turkey could bring a smile to your face as it reminds you of a joyful Thanksgiving, while the smell of chlorine reminds you of swimming in a pool.
Azura Memory Care of Wausau tapped into those memories with its residents by picking lilacs from the beautiful bushes in front of the home. When you think of lilacs, what memories do they bring you? The lovely, fragrant blooms were enjoyed by everyone! In particular, one of the residents that has macular degeneration, so she is unable to see well anymore. When the lilacs were brought to her, she recalled the smell of lilacs and even laid one of the blooms on her shoulder so that she was able to smell the fragrance for a longer period of time. It brought back such found childhood memories.
So, take time to stop and smell the _______. What memories can you conjure up?