For patients and family members coping with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, the challenge of delaying memory loss for as long as possible often depends on stimulating memories. Following a series of requests from dementia care groups, the UK branch of Swiss food giant Nestle has provided an online "reminiscence pack" with historical packaging to help prompt recall and conversation in dementia patients. Developed in consultation with the U.K. Alzheimer's Society, the pack includes material from the Nestle UK and Ireland Archive at their factory in York. The archive includes some of the most well-known food products in the world and dates back to the early decades of the 20th century.
Visitors can download an extensive photographic archive, posters, package wrappers, a board game, and even resources for constructing replicas of actual product wrappers, including many that are no longer available. The Alzheimer's Society is currently testing the reminiscence pack with two support group providing memory training for people with dementia. According to Allison Cook of the Alzheimer's Society, using familiar objects from the past can be effective in encouraging dementia patients access long-term memories.
“Even something as simple as an old sweet wrapper can bring back vivid memories from a happy time," she said. "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."