Fall prevention using olfactory stimulation with lavender odor in elderly nursing home residents: a randomized controlled trial

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Jun;60(6):1005-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.03977.x. Epub 2012 May 30.


Objectives: To investigate the effects of lavender olfactory stimulation intervention on fall incidence in elderly nursing home residents.

Design: Randomized placebo-controlled trial.

Setting: Three randomly selected nursing homes in northern Japan.

Participants: One hundred and forty-five nursing home residents aged 65 and older.

Intervention: Participants were randomly assigned to the lavender (n = 73) or placebo group (n = 72) for a 360-day study period. The lavender group received continuous olfactory stimulation from a lavender patch. The placebo group received an unscented patch.

Measurement: The primary outcome measure was resident falls. Other measurements taken at baseline and 12 months included functional ability (assessed using the Barthel Index), cognitive function (Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE)), and behavioral and psychological problems associated with dementia (Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory (CMAI)).

Results: There were fewer fallers in the lavender group (n = 26) than in the placebo group (n = 36) (hazard ratio (HR)=0.57, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.34-0.95) and a lower incidence rate in the lavender group (1.04 per person-year) than in the placebo group (1.40 per person-year) (incidence rate ratio = 0.51, 95% CI = 0.30-0.88). The lavender group also had a significant decrease in CMAI score (P = .04) from baseline to follow-up in a per protocol analysis.

Conclusion: Lavender olfactory stimulation may reduce falls and agitation in elderly nursing home residents; further research is necessary to confirm these findings.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Japan
  • Lavandula*
  • Male
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Odorants*
  • Placebos
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Proportional Hazards Models


  • Placebos