Written by Active Minds on Tuesday the 9th of August 2016.
Working with care homes including Barchester, Four Seasons, Greensleeves and Anchor, we became increasingly aware that there were few products on the market that catered for those who are living in the later point of the Dementia journey. While many care homes were found to provide multi-sensory rooms, these were costly to install, required moving people from their rooms and often ended up overstimulating for older people living with dementia due to a heavy focus on light.
The challenge was how do we create an age-appropriate and affordable activity that stimulates different senses?
After product testing a range of sensory experiences from scratch-and-sniff cards to tactile objects, we identified the need for a reminiscence activity that required little to no physical activity or movement and that focused on smell and sound, the two senses that have been found to last longest for people living with dementia. Care home teams also stressed the need for a product that could be used both one-to-one or in small groups and that would be relaxing, affordable, portable, long-lasting and safe for carers to use.
The end result was Scentscape, a comprehensive series of kits incorporating themed sounds and smells designed to spark conversation, encourage relaxation and evoke pleasant memories. Scentscape shall eventually be available five different themes including At Home, The Tool Shed, In The Garden, At The Seaside and Trains. At Home and In the Garden Scentscapes launched in late July with the others due to be laucnhed shortly after.
Each Scentscape kit includes a soundscape CD, to be used alongside the four different scents. The CD has 4 different sections featuring sounds that are authentic and relaxing, recreated using real utensils and objects from the 1950s.
Test sessions have already found the activity to be extremely effective at encouraging both reminiscence and relaxation.
Leigh Leggat, activities coordinator at Greensleeves Trust said a Lady living with dementia that took part in the Scentscape session had told her son that “she had been out in the car, to a garage and polished a car. Now, that was all done in this room. To her she had actually done that”.
Leigh also adds, “As soon as I had understood the reasoning behind the idea, it clicked. I think it’s a fantastic idea and I think it will give a lot of pleasure to a lot of people”.
We look forward to hearing further success stories of Scentscape in care homes and for those with freinds or fmaily living with dementia. Both the ‘At Home’ and ‘In the Garden’ Scentscapes can be purchased here.
You can also watch a video here, if you wish to seek further information about the Scentscape range.