Experts estimate that about 90% of patients older than 80 years present appetite disorders associated with decreased of sensory capacities derived from aging. Over one hundred elders between 50 and 95 years old from Spain, Czech Republic, Greece and Italy have taken part on the European GYMSEN Project, with the aim of preventing and retarding the functional and cognitive decline of elderly people
Valencia, November 14th 2016. Stimulation of sensory perception could retard the decline in sensory function in elderly people with Alzheimer’s disease, according to the results of European GYMSEN Project.
Through the performance of different exercises to stimulate the sensory functions, especially the smell and taste, there has been an improvement in the identification capacities and perception of food for the group of patients with Alzheimer’s disease who were exposed to different sensory stimuli.
Experts estimate that about 90% of patients over 80 years of age have appetite alterations (hyporexia, malnutrition) due to the loss of sensory capacity derived from aging. Incorrect feeding can lead to important nutritional deficiencies, infections or other disorders with serious health consequences.
The GYMSEN Project, funded by Erasmus+ call has had as objective the development of a methodology for helping to prevent and retard both the sensory and cognitive declines of elderly people, especially of smell and taste. The project has developed a training tool by which participants have exercised their sensory capacities during the project.
Participants involved in the project have been Universidad Miguel Hernández (Spain), leading the project, AINIA centro tecnológico (Spain), Anziani e Non Solo (Italy), SP Sveriges Tekniska Forkningsintitut (Sweeden), European Development Agency (Czech Republic) and Athens Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (Greece).
Specifically, during periods of 9 to 11 weeks, more than a hundred elders with four different profiles regarding physical activity, health and dependency, aged between 50 and 95 years old have performed different activities such as: identification and recognition of smells, tastes and aromas; description of odours, aromas flavours and tastes; olfactory and gustatory memory games. In addition, the description of memories is also done after smell, taste and manipulate different foods.
Specifically, in Spain these exercises were conducted with a group of healthy and active seniors. In the Czech Republic, the project has focused on a group of healthy people, but with lower intensity activity, while in Greece are Alzheimer’s and Italy elderly people admitted to centres or residences.