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How Retro Sweets can Help Promote Memories


Retro sweets come in a huge variety of different shapes, forms and flavours that are loved by people all over the world. But not only do they taste delicious, they can also help promote memories and enhance the lives of those suffering with dementia and memory loss. 

Research has shown that smells and taste can trigger memories and have more power that any other senses. The theory, known as the “Proustian Phenomenon”, is named after the French writer Marcel Proust, who described a character vividly recalling a long-forgotten childhood memory after eating a tea-soaked biscuit, in one of his novels. Scientists believe that the power of smell in particular is because the region of our brains that process smells is next to the regions that control emotion and memory. Therefore, retro sweets are the perfect way to trigger your own childhood memories and experience a great sense of nostalgia with some Pear Drops or Sugar Mice, but also to trigger memories for health purposes. Some of our most strongly smelling sweets include Menthol and Eucalyptus, Liquorice Wheels and Vanilla Fudge.

An article (here) describes how a care home in County Durham has recently opened a vintage sweet shop complete with candy striped walls, glass jars filled with traditional classic sweets and even a sweet cart. Not only does this help clients’ sense of choice and independence, but it will also help stimulate memories of the past for those suffering with dementia, through reminiscence therapy. Reminiscence therapy involves the discussion, or experiencing, past events or experiences with the use of tangible props. The use of retro sweets in a traditional sweet shop set up will bring clients memories of carefree childhood days which will hopefully bring them a better sense of freedom and individuality which will result in better well-being.