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Old person Smell

(232 Posts)
ExD1938 Tue 07-Jan-20 08:43:14

My friend's teenage daughter was refusing to visit an elderly aunt because she smelled. My friend asked what she smelled of and was told she had 'the old people smell'
So I did a bit of research on google and came up with the worrying answer that ALL old people smell however much they bathe.
So, me being a worrier I'm thinking --- do I smell?
And if I do, how can I get rid of it?
Do you smell without realising it?
(please tell me this isn't true)

Redsmudgy Tue 07-Jan-20 08:55:21

When my son and his wife were buying a house they often commented that a house they had viewed smelled of old people.

dragonfly46 Tue 07-Jan-20 08:56:18

And at what age do we start to smell?

EllanVannin Tue 07-Jan-20 09:02:01

Many young people don't smell like ice-cream either !!

aggie Tue 07-Jan-20 09:03:43

Eau de teenage boys bedrooms !

Gaunt47 Tue 07-Jan-20 09:07:43

It's not necessarily the people who smell, it's the clothes they wear IMO. The old people I know (really old that is, much older than me!) don't have the energy or even care very much about washing clothes.

M0nica Tue 07-Jan-20 09:11:36

In the past it was a mixture of infrequent bathing, clothes washing, window opening and fear of draughts. But I am surprised it still exists.

When I first retired (in my 50s) I worked for a charity where I went into many elderly people's homes, and I do not ever remember going into someone's house and smelling the fusty smell, I remember so well from childhood.

I think providing you are particular about personal hygiene and clothes changing and keeping the house aired there should be no odour. Mind you DD has strict instructions to inform me if I start looking like mutton dressed as lamb or wearing clothes with stains I hadn't noticed on them.

MawB Tue 07-Jan-20 09:12:19

I have a dear friend who clearly keeps many of her outer clothes in a cupboard with mothballs - can’t say anything, but memo to self, get cedar balls or lavender sachets instead.

Niobe Tue 07-Jan-20 09:13:15

I’m with EllanVanin on this one. Some young people are hardly fragrant either.

vena11 Tue 07-Jan-20 09:17:33

I have just looked on the internet about this, It starts at the age of about 40 its a hormone its called Nonenol . Oh dear I hope I never smell.

MamaCaz Tue 07-Jan-20 09:17:55

Is it the person or the home, I wonder?

A lot of elderly people in the past lived with the same furniture, carpets, furnishings and even clothes that they had owned for donkeys years, even when thread-bare, on the "these will see me out" basis.

I think there is little doubt that these things absorb smells, and over the years develop quite a distinctive odour as a result of it, and the person (and their clothing) is almost bound to carry at least a whiff of it.

That said, I don't think there are many of the 'this will see me out' generation left, so if my theory is correct, perhaps the 'old people smell' will soon become a thing of the past.

BlueSky Tue 07-Jan-20 09:28:10

Yes MawB I remember old people smelling of mothballs, but not now, do they still sell them?

Jane10 Tue 07-Jan-20 09:39:00

It was very interesting to read about Nonenol vena11 thanks for highlighting it. Looks like we'll all have to track down the right soap as current common soaps are not constituted to beat Nonenol.
We're not smelly - just old(er)!!

henetha Tue 07-Jan-20 09:44:02

Well, that's made a miserable day even worse. I'm 82, so
definitely old and therefore smelly! sad
I'm going out to buy air freshener, scented candles, new clothes, lots of toiletries, and expensive perfume.

Urmstongran Tue 07-Jan-20 09:48:29

Haha henetha!

My mum who died last year at the age of 86y used to say to me ‘you will let me know won’t you if I ever start to smell old ladyish?’ Bless. She never did. She was always gorgeous. x

henetha Tue 07-Jan-20 09:54:48

One of my son's is visiting tomorrow, - I'm going to ask him to tell me, - truthfully, - if I smell...

KatyK Tue 07-Jan-20 09:56:10

At least three posts on here today on the same subject. I wonder why?

Jane10 Tue 07-Jan-20 09:56:20

Don't just buy any old air fresheners and perfumes Henetha- apparently the Japanese have identified specific smells to combat our aged BO

vena11 Tue 07-Jan-20 09:56:34

Urnstongran my mum was 89 when she died and always said that to me and she never ever did smell and I do say it to my daughter , fingers crossed.

Mollygo Tue 07-Jan-20 09:57:21

As if we didn’t have enough to worry about. Clothes, bedding and body well washed, but I’m off to beat my rugs over the washing line and send my curtains to the dry cleaners!

RillaofIngleside Tue 07-Jan-20 09:57:47

My in-laws were most particular and concerned about that very problem, they were in their nineties when they died. I only noticed that their flat started to have an unpleasant odour when one of them became incontinent, and there were bags of pads left in the bathroom for disposal. Also, there was the smell of talcum powder which used to be more of a thing I think then, and I do associate that with old people.
As someone else said, as people get older they perhaps don't see the dust and cleaning, or don't have the energy to do it as they used to do, and windows don't get opened either if they are more immobile. Older people of my generation didn't always have central heating either, and there was often a musty smell from closed up damp rooms.
We are working hard at keeping our house fresh and modern!

henetha Tue 07-Jan-20 09:58:41

Thanks Jane10. I'll Google it and see what I can find out.

polnan Tue 07-Jan-20 09:59:08

will our loved ones tell us.. oh gosh, now I am worrying

inishowen Tue 07-Jan-20 10:00:41

Oh dear, hopefully it's a thing of the past. Nowadays we shower daily and wash our clothes frequently. I wonder if the smell came from incontinence, before the invention of Tena? My gran lived with us when I was a child. She didn't smell but broke wind a lot and blamed the cat!

jaylucy Tue 07-Jan-20 10:02:11

Nonenol - I'm glad that you didn't say that over 40 we smell of wee!
With the number of things that are supposed to make your home and clothes as well as yourself smell nice, in theory, none of us should smell, but if it's a hormone, what can we do beyond lots of laundry,plenty of showers/baths, open windows etc (forget the mothballs!) Anybody have any idea what we should be looking for in soaps or shower stuff that will help? Or maybe we should just go back to carbolic?