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

Read it at FastCompany/Co.Exist

Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.

To boost your self-esteem, write about chapters of your life

If you're lacking confidence and feel like you could benefit from an ego boost, try writing your life story.

Personal Growth

In truth, so much of what happens to us in life is random – we are pawns at the mercy of Lady Luck. To take ownership of our experiences and exert a feeling of control over our future, we tell stories about ourselves that weave meaning and continuity into our personal identity.

Keep reading Show less

Active ingredient in Roundup found in 95% of studied beers and wines

The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.

(MsMaria/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
  • A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
  • Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
Keep reading Show less

Ashes of cat named Pikachu to be launched into space

A space memorial company plans to launch the ashes of "Pikachu," a well-loved Tabby, into space.

GoFundMe/Steve Munt
Culture & Religion
  • Steve Munt, Pikachu's owner, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the mission.
  • If all goes according to plan, Pikachu will be the second cat to enter space, the first being a French feline named Felicette.
  • It might seem frivolous, but the cat-lovers commenting on Munt's GoFundMe page would likely disagree.
Keep reading Show less