Indulging the Summer Senses


Of all of the seasons, there’s something special about the beginning of summer. For many it’s a time of year that triggers the best of the senses. For starters, there’s the sight of freshly cut grass and blooming flowers, the sounds of birds chirping in the trees, and the scent of grilled foods drifting through the air. Over time, these simple sights, smells and sounds become the basis of some of our strongest memories.

Happy old couple eating ice-cream outdoor.

Memory Lane

As a child, how many of you recall the thrill and anticipation that came from the clang of the bell generated as the ice cream man drove down the street or the sensation of eating a Popsicle on a hot day? For others, memories abound with the crack of a baseball bat reaching our ears or the briny smell of crashing waves lifting to the nose. Even today these simple sounds have the ability to trigger the desire for a sweet treat such as Crackerjacks at a game or ice cream at the beach that help remind us that some of the best things in life are also the most simple. Perhaps this is why some of our favorite foods are best consumed in the presence of memories.

Much like our favorite things, sensory recall is unique to our experiences. Over time those sensory memories evolve, some being replaced as the trigger for the memory begins to fade along with the senses that made them most prominent. Thankfully as some memories dissipate others become more pronounced, particularly at certain stages of life.

A Preference for Sweets

Long after the hearing dulls and the eyes become less sharp, certain elements of our taste buds remain, generating the comfort of sensory memories. For instance, in adults the sweet taste buds are the last to fade. This preference for sweet foods was recognized as an infant when our first food was sweet mother’s milk or formula. Much like our distant ancestors, we instinctively knew the satisfaction and comfort achieved through a touch of sweetness on the tongue. Over time, the preference for sweetness evolved into the simple pleasures of cinnamon sugar toast for breakfast, hot cocoa after building snowmen, or a trip to the ice cream store as a special treat.

Recalling the Simple Pleasures

For those dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia, ice cream is not only a pleasurable treat, it’s also an easy-to-digest food that satisfies a long-held desire for sweetness. Knowing what a treat ice cream can be, the residents at SeniorCare Homes look forward to experiencing some of the best of the sights and sounds of summer with outings to the local ice cream store.

These trips are not only fun, but they also provide SeniorCare residents with a sense of purpose and self-esteem. Each outing being an opportunity for spontaneous activity. The trips allow residents to engage with each other and their caregivers while simultaneously indulging in the simple pleasures of eating ice cream on a beautiful summer day.

SeniorCare Homes in Overland Park and Leawood, Kansas, offer the most comfortable and stable assisted living environment to seniors with dementia, memory loss, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Phone (913) 236-0036 to learn more about neighborhood living for the memory impaired.