How the scent of tomatoes (and baby powder and lawns) can help reconnect Alzheimer’s patients with their past…

There’s plenty of scientific evidence that smell taps into our brain’s emotional centre – and provides a link to the past.

And if you know anyone who’s suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, you might be interested in a new pack of scented Smell & Connect cards which is being used to help people open up and interact via smells and aromas which have happy associations: childhood, holidays, food…

You peel back the sticker on each card to release the scent. There’s grass, baby powder, orange chocolate (think: Terry’s Chocolate Orange), lavender, laundry, Victoria Sponge…

They’ve been found to trigger different associations and memories, and the creator – Linda Harman, who spent many years at fragrance house Givaudan – first came up with the idea after using a similar technique on her own mother, who suffers from dementia.

As Linda explains, ‘Our instinctive responses provide an opportunity to engage people with Alzheimer’s, other mental illnesses or dementia in conversation or activities. Smelling is an act that evokes a reaction and starts an exchange of feelings or ideas.’ Continues Linda, ‘Whether positive or negative, this exchange results in the human connection that makes a difference to how people feel about themselves, their situation, their relationships with carers, family or health professionals.’

There are two Smell & Connect collections, and the mini-packs contain one card of each of four smells, which can be reused many times. (Simply re-seal the scented ‘zone’.) Larger packs are available for use by care homes.

Find them price from £12.99 at

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