Using Scent To Reawaken Memories Lost To Dementia

Singapore's JWT creative agency collaborated with Swiss fragrance company Givaudan to create "smell kits" that, when given to Alzheimer's and dementia patients, help them remember younger, better days.

What's the Latest Development?


Working with its client, Swiss fragrance company Givaudan, Singapore's JWT creative agency has created a series of "smell kits" that include dozens of different scents designed to evoke memories in the minds of people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and dementia. The scents, customized towards the patient's age and ethnicity, "include food like chili or garlic and concoctions that evoke certain situations, like childhood bedtime (talcum powder, lavender, clean sheets), or 'school days.'" Some odors, such as the smell of fireworks, no longer exist, but would be familiar to elders of a certain age.

What's the Big Idea?

JWT executive Juhi Kalia says, "We realized that [caregivers] use visual stimulus like photographs, or conversation and music, but they never use smell...The smells are a conversation starter. It draws them out and connects them a bit more. It opens up their personality." The kits have enjoyed a positive reception at two nursing homes so far, and JWT is looking at bringing them to hospitals and support organizations in Singapore. Meanwhile, Givaudan is still deciding what scents to put in the kits, and whether they will sell or give them away.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

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