Rowntree's Fruit Gums.

Saving sweet wrappers to help those with dementia

I read about socially responsibility endeavours all of the time, most that revolve around limiting climate change or addressing the needs of those in disaster zones.

This morning, I read the refreshing news that Nestlé UK & Ireland has created something called a ‘reminiscence pack’ that includes packaging from its vast archive of confectionery products, to help trigger happy recollections among those with dementia or memory problems.

“Even something as simple as an old sweet wrapper can bring back vivid memories from a happy time,” said Alison Cook of the Alzheimer’s Society. “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.”

Last year, I saw something similar on TV, where a vintage ‘street’ was created to help sufferers of dementia remember how things were when they were younger.

The cynics may see this as a strange sort of marketing, but I can’t help but see the good in this; that some of our fondest memories are forged from the things that excited us when we were children: a finger of fudge, the plastic letters at the end of a tube of Smarties, the crumbling chocolate when you bent a Curly Wurly, or how you had to prise apart sticky Fruit Polos before you could devour them.

In years to come, we may remind our aged population about Angry Birds, Coke Zero and Chai Pods. Let’s start storing the boxes and wrappers now.

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