As your loved one grows older, others may notice changes in his or her senses. Some seniors might start wearing glasses to read or using a hearing aid to block background noise. While this is completely normal, something could be amiss if a loved one experiences a sudden change in his or her sense of smell. Prescott in-home senior care experts share the findings of researchers from Columbia University Medical Center, New York State Psychiatric Institute, and New York-Presbyterian, who are researching the connection between loss of the sense of smell and developing Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s and the Sense of Smell
Dementia-related disorders like Alzheimer’s can impact a senior’s ability to differentiate between smells or smell strong odors altogether. The connection is unclear, but many doctors believe it has to do with the loss of key brain cells because of ribbons of plaque causing inflammation. While losing the sense of smell can be heartbreaking, it might be an excellent way to identify Alzheimer’s in its earliest stages.
The University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test (UPSIT)
Most of the research around Alzheimer’s and olfactory senses is now utilizing the UPSIT or a variation of it. This simple and affordable test simply gauges a senior’s ability to smell common items such as peanut butter or a candle. Those who score lower on the test seem to develop dementia-related disorders at much higher rates.
Moving Beyond the UPSIT
Correctly diagnosing dementia is no easy task until the condition begins impacting a senior’s , which is one of the reasons why the UPSIT can be an exceptional tool for doctors helping high-risk elders. If any anomalies are detected during the UPSIT, your loved one’s doctor can schedule additional tests, including brain scans. With an early diagnosis, your loved one can have more treatment options for slowing the progression of the condition and managing the side effects.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the condition, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We provide comprehensive dementia, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s care for Prescott seniors. To learn more about how an experienced caregiver can help your senior loved one, call a knowledgeable Care Manager at (928) 771-0105 and schedule a free consultation.