Activity staff at Rogers House Residential Care Home have introduced a reminiscent sensory activity for residents, designed to support those living with dementia.

Focusing on stimulating the senses, staff of the Wigmore home have created an activity, inviting residents to open and smell jars that are filled with nostalgic scents, then guess what is in them.

Familiar or nostalgic scents such as coal fires, carbolic soap, tobacco, matches and peppermint activate what is called the ‘olfactory memory’. These smell receptors are connected to a part of the brain that processes memories and emotions and is said to be something that seldom degrades with age, even with those people living with dementia.

The timeless scents from yesteryear prompt memories for the residents, taking them back to key moments in their life, as well as promoting discussion amongst the group.

Jackie Miles, General Manager of Rogers House said: “Sensory activities play a key role in our activities programme here at Rogers House, as they are so important for reminiscence and ultimately, the residents’ wellbeing.

“We have seen that the range of scents can be incredibly emotive and a really helpful tool in recalling memories, for example, the scent of tobacco could take you back to a memory from your childhood of your grandfather smoking his pipe in his old leather chair. It’s a great activity and we’re looking forward to developing it more.”