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Old Person Smell (wikipedia.org)
24 points by JPLeRouzic 6 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 13 comments

That smells of old news.


By the way, two smells are really distinctive in my experience.

That of dead people (the real ones not the socially dead) after a few days and that of young males, especially when they happen to be the reason for the smell of the former ones.


In the words of that great old man of filthy humour, Mel Brooks:

Life Stinks


Ugh. My maternal grandparents' house reeked of it. I think they failed to clean their house properly because they were infirm. I suspect diet and hygiene play a part in it too. If there were a way to eliminate or neutralize it like a geriatric deodorant, it's probably a good idea (Japanese might buy it). Also, I wonder if very fit elderly people have this issue or just aged people who don't take care of themselves.

In an other thread HN's user Raducu wrote about "the old person smell". I didn't know such a thing existed but noticed it myself sometimes without thinking much about it, including in my own house (I am 64).

I wonder if HN's users have some insights to share?

There's a very particular "nursing home smell" and oddly an old family car would produce it if you ran the heat. My best guess was a dead animal in there somewhere.

I'm 27 and I can smell it around some older people. It might be anecdotal, but I think it was less noticeable in people who kept physically active.

FWIW, for me personally it's not a strong or bad smell, and it's pretty neutral. So, I don't think anyone needs feel self-conscious about it!

I suspect you're absolutely right. My maternal grandmother had a terrible smell, although she lived a long time (with about 10 years of dementia).

Smells are linked to emotional. Old people smell as good as you like old people. (Same as almost any smell.)

59 and yes. It exists. Can smell it when I come back from longer away.

Sensation fades rapidly. I have little doubt younger friends and colleagues get more of it, alas.

When I was a kid, one of the most intense memories I had was of how my maternal grandfather smelled. Not just after work, but after a shower, or any other activity. I always thought it was because he was a heavy smoker. As I turned 50 (or so), I was surprised and appalled to find that I now smelled that exact same smell again — this time from me. Again, it would smell weaker right after a shower, or I could cover it with aftershave or cologne, but it was always there as a baseline.

And I’ve never been a smoker — I tried smoking a pipe in college, but could never keep the damn thing lit. And cigarettes just made me gag and tasted horrible. Of course, I knew plenty of smokers and my mom was a heavy smoker for many years, so I knew what the smell was like. That didn’t bother me so much, but the act of trying to smoke did.

So far as I can tell, I just now smell like my grandpa used to when I was a kid.

Anyway, I’m not sure what to make of this situation. It still bugs me, from time to time.

This doesn't surprise me. While I don't go as far as this:

Not washing with soap ever: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/aug/05/i-dont-...

Consider if you are stressed, have not slept, are hungover or ill. Often you smell pretty pungent.

I imagine that over the years we have excessively washed (with soap, certainly need to go under water) to cover poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise and general detritus from our cities.

Then ended up forgetting how important our smells are.

I wake up with night sweats from sleep apnea, metabolic issues, and/or being overweight by 30 lbs. (of 240 lbs.).

It's hard to read text these days so ...

If you are being truthful: I am really sorry, I have had sleep apnea it's not pleasant, exacerbated by a thick neck would you believe. Though once I stopped smoking cigarettes it stopped. I will not give advice because I don't know your situation.

If you are not being serious given what I have said in my comment: :)

How can they be so little research in this topic? The article says almost nothing.

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