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Smell & Tell™


Care homes in the South East to get a wellbeing boost this spring with new board game focused on smell and memory

A board game that tests people’s memory using familiar, everyday smells, has been developed to support social interaction and diminish feelings of isolation amongst older people and care home residents.

Smell & Tell™ is a two-in-one mood boosting game, comprising a board and memory game, that has been designed to be played by care home residents with varying abilities. The game uses fragrances as a conversation stimulus, and each scent has been carefully selected to remain familiar to UK residents, with the concept of sparking a memory and creating a moment of pleasure. Smells associated with food such as chocolate, toast and cinnamon feature, along with location and situational-based smells, such as ‘kitchen’; ‘wardrobe’ and even ‘dentist’!

The game was developed as part of an initiative that challenged employees at fragrance and taste company, Givaudan, to support communities most affected by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Solène Cauvin-Wirz, Oral Care Flavourist and Zoe Cogger, Oral Care Marketing Manager from Givaudan came up with the idea, after seeing the impact that isolation during the pandemic had on close family members who were residents in care homes. They created the game as a way to stimulate people’s memory and as a way for them to interact and have fun. After a successful pilot, they were awarded funding to professionally manufacture 500 games from the Givaudan Foundation, whose mission is to make a difference within the communities where Givaudan sources and operates. The games will be donated to care homes in Kent, Surrey and Greater London this spring.

Smell & Tell™ falls under the umbrella of an initiative created by the International Fragrance Association UK (IFRA UK) called Changing Lives Through Fragrance, which brings together people from across the industry to highlight and promote the importance of our sense of smell. This year the focus of the programme is around wellbeing and dementia.

Rhian Slee, UK Fragrance Sales Director at Givaudan and Chair of IFRA UK, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic really highlighted to us how important our sense of smell is and how not having a functioning sense of smell can really impact on your life - sometimes leading to feelings of isolation and depression.

‘Yet our sense of smell is vital to our wellbeing because the olfactory receptors in the nose connect us directly to areas of the brain that create memories. That’s why our sense of smell is so important to our wellbeing and to feeling connected as it links us to familiar aromas evoking feelings of nostalgia.  We are delighted to have developed Smell & Tell™ through the Givaudan Foundation as we hope it is going to bring a sense of connection and enjoyment to the people in the care homes we are able to supply it to.’

A YouGov survey commissioned by IFRA UK showed that two-fifths (42%) of UK adults value their sense of smell more now than they did three years ago, pre-pandemic. It also revealed that for 60% of UK adults the main feeling evoked by their sense of smell is nostalgia.

Alison Knight, Front of House Receptionist and the Lifestyle Activity Coordinator from Park View Care Centre, Ashford, Kent said: “This game is really good for all our residents whether they are mobile or not. The reactions of our residents when they smell something they recognise is priceless. We have had a lot of fun with the game!”

96 year old, Jean Downey said: “A very interesting game, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I think it will help people to converse with each other more.”

If you would like to request a Smell & Tell™  board game for a UK care home, please email

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