NESTLé is helping to trigger happy memories for dementia sufferers through a new online “reminiscence pack,” featuring wrappers and packaging from its archives.
The York-based confectionery giant says the project was sparked by a flurry of queries from care groups, convinced that seeing the vintage packaging might help revive patients’ positive recollections from their long-term memory.
The pack was produced with advice from the Alzheimer’s Society, which is now testing it with two support groups running activities for people with dementia and their carers.
Wrappers from decades past are featured, including products which no longer exist, such as a “chocolate pie”, which contained aerated malt milk chocolate and caramel, and a “Rowntree motoring bar”, combining milk chocolate with fruit and nuts.
There are also images of tin labels, posters, photographs, chocolate boxes and one of the earliest examples of a Rowntree’s Fruit Gums box.
Alison Cook, of the Alzheimer’s Society, said using familiar objects from the past to help those with dementia remember could be a powerful tool.
“Even something as simple as an old sweet wrapper can bring back vivid memories from a happy time.
“This activity helps carers and loved ones to engage with people with dementia in a positive way, and has the potential to improve the quality of life for the 800,000 living with dementia in the UK,” she said.
Nestlé spokesman James Maxton said that thanks to the dedicated work of generations of archivists and the generosity of employees and the public, the company had built up a large York-based archive, featuring some of the most famous brands in the world, and it was proud to use it to produce the memory pack.
“We are keen to share the contents of the archive with as wide an audience as possible and we are delighted to use some of our favourite artefacts to produce this online pack,” he said.
• To access the pack, go to nestle.co.uk/aboutus/reminiscencepack