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

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

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine and Rehabilitation Science, Tohoku University, Graduate School of Medicine, Sendai, Japan.

Erratum in

  • J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 Nov;60(11):2193.



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


Randomized placebo-controlled trial.


Three randomly selected nursing homes in northern Japan.


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


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.


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)).


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.


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

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