A Novel Multi-sensory Approach to Reminiscence
Voucher Scheme Round 2

Creative Dementia Arts Network, Understory and MHA developed, tested, and evaluated Sense of Self, a proof-of-concept project that uses chocolate as a component of a novel multi-sensory approach to enhancing reminiscence in older people with a dementia. The project was co-created with a small group of residents in an MHA care home who offered food memories to inform the creation of personalised flavoured chocolates designed to reconnect individuals with a particular place, time, and experience. Musical soundscapes were also be developed to enhance resident’s sensory and reminiscence experiences.

There is evidence to suggest that engaging people with dementia in structured and non-structured reminiscence activity can have a number of benefits, including improvement in communication and reinforcement of self-identity, increased socialisation and positive emotions.Furthermore, research suggests that personalised memories lead to greater engagement in reminiscence and increase the amount and ease of retrieval of memories. Visual and auditory cues including the use of photographs, music, objects and artefacts are the most widely used generic prompts in reminiscence activity but taste has been little explored. Chocolate’s association with emotional memories and its capacity to deliver an enormous variety of different flavours and scents makes it an ideal vehicle to use in this study.