Blandford Grange recreates nostalgic scents to support those with dementia

8th November 2019

Residents at Blandford Grange care home in Blandford Forum, Dorset, have featured on BBC South Today following an innovative focus on sensory activities that are designed to support people living with dementia.

Bridget Townsend, activities coordinator at Blandford Grange has created a comprehensive programme of activities that is focused on stimulating a multitude of senses, as well as taking into account residents’ spiritual and emotional wellbeing. A special focus on the sense of smell and reminiscence has received great feedback from all residents involved.

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 rarely degrades with age, even with those people living with dementia.

Confirms Bridget Townsend, “The senses play a major part in our reminiscence programmes that we run here at Blandford Grange – and the sense of smell immediately takes you back to a distinct moment in time. A former college friend of mine works for Aroma Prime, which makes special cubes filled with a specially formulated oil. It recreates a wide range of smells, and our residents have really enjoyed a number of aromatherapy sessions and games such as ‘Follow Your Nose’ that use these.”

When asked how the varying smells of yesteryear make her feel, Margaret Sibley, a resident at Blandford Grange said: “I think it’s lovely. Getting back the old-fashioned smells; I love the old smells. It’s nice to go back and remember the things of the old days.”

Blandford Grange is part of the Healthcare Homes Group and provides residential and nursing care for up to 63 people, including those living with dementia.  It is based on Milldown Road in Blandford Forum.

For more information on Blandford Grange, call 01258 458 214.