On October 19, 2023, the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) UK hosted its annual Fragrance Forum. Experts from Germany, Sweden, the USA and the UK examined the interaction between smell and memory at the Royal Institution in London, answering questions such as whether a strong sense of smell can protect us from diseases like dementia, what a declining sense of smell means for us, and what role smell and memory play in the longer term.
The event, Unlocking the Mind: the science and creativity of olfaction and memory, premiered a short film from a West Sussex care home where residents living with dementia have been trialing a scent-related memory game, with extremely positive results. The five-minute film showed residents from Meadowcroft Care Home in Shoreham-by-Sea playing Smell & Tell, a mood-boosting board and memory game created by the Givaudan Foundation. The game is said to use familiar fragrances such as coffee, pine and chocolate to evoke memories and spark conversations of those taking part.
Lisa Hipgrave, Director of IFRA UK shared, “Almost one million people in the UK have dementia and this is set to increase to over 1.6 million by 2050. We know that our sense of smell can be affected by dementia, and that losing our sense of smell can be isolating and negatively impact our well-being. It’s amazing to see the power of our sense of smell and how certain scents trigger memories that haven’t been thought of for decades. The ongoing research by leading academics like Dr Hummel and Professor Larsson, and hands-on games like Givaudan’s Smell and Tell™, are hugely important in ensuring that our sense of smell remains at the forefront of science and fragrance.”
Hipgrave added, “We have a fascinating line-up of perfumers who have each created bespoke fragrances. From a fragrance inspired by a grandparents’ garden in Lebanon and travel inspired candles that brighten up dark winter days, to childhood fragrances and the smells associated with the paradoxes of dementia - these young perfumers have taken the idea of linking smell and memory and created some exciting fragrances that we are really looking forward to sharing and exploring with our audience.”