We are using the power of nostalgia and food to support people with Dementia! 
Our previous projects have helped us to realise that food helps people to open up and talk; this led us to look into how a food and conversation project aimed at older people would improve health and wellbeing as well as reduce social isolation (unfortunately a huge issue amongst the older population). Our research led us to evidence that pointed towards multi-sensory approaches to reminiscing therapy for people with Dementia and this project was born!
We have received funding through Shine Lincolnshire's Innovation Fund and are delivering sessions in a mixture of residential, nursing and community settings with Lincoln over 2023/24 and will be recording outcomes, feedback and any lessons to help us to further develop this project in the future.
Photos, case studies and outcomes will be shared via social media and published here so keep following for more information or please get in touch to have a chat about what we're doing.
Dementia is a progressive neurological condition that affects memory, cognition, and behavior, often leading to social isolation and reduced quality of life. In recent years, there has been growing interest in non-pharmacological interventions to support individuals with dementia. This essay proposes a multi-sensory approach, combining nostalgic cookery and facilitated conversations, to address multiple aspects of well-being for people living with dementia.
Nostalgic Cookery: Triggering Memories Through Taste and Smell
The sense of smell is closely linked to memory and emotion. Nostalgic cookery leverages the power of aroma and taste to reconnect individuals with their past, particularly through the evocation of early food memories. By recreating dishes from their youth or engaging in food-related activities, individuals with dementia can rekindle positive experiences, triggering a cascade of memories that may improve short and long-term memory.
Facilitated Conversations: Stimulating Cognitive Engagement and Social Interaction
Engaging in facilitated conversations provides a platform for individuals with dementia to share their food-related stories and reminisce about their past experiences. These conversations stimulate cognitive engagement, encourage active recall, and provide opportunities for social interaction. The process of storytelling not only helps participants preserve their own memories but also enriches the lives of others by providing insight into the issues associated with dementia and challenging age-related stereotypes.
Memory Enhancement and Mental Health Benefits
By combining nostalgic cookery and facilitated conversations, individuals with dementia can experience significant improvements in memory function. The act of recalling and discussing food memories strengthens neural connections, potentially leading to enhanced cognitive functioning and a sense of personal identity. Furthermore, the positive emotional experiences associated with reminiscing about food can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, promoting overall mental well-being.
Social Connection and Reduced Isolation
Dementia often leads to social isolation, as individuals may face communication challenges and experience withdrawal from social activities. The multi-sensory approach of nostalgic cookery combined with facilitated conversations creates opportunities for social interaction, fostering a sense of belonging and reducing feelings of loneliness. Sharing stories and experiences in a supportive environment can help individuals with dementia reconnect with others, rebuild relationships, and form new connections.
Back to Top