Residents at a care home in East Grinstead have taken a trip down memory lane as part of a nationwide initiative to rediscover their favourite foods from the past.

At Care UK’s Mill View, on Sunnyside Close, residents have been recreating treats remembered from their childhood, including making chocolate bars and jellies, as part of their celebrations which aimed to rediscover residents favourite foods throughout the decades.

Scott Humphrey, Head of Maintenance at the home, built a ‘Mill View Sweet Memories’ confectionary trolley especially for the occasion, which the team filled with nostalgic favourites including ice cream sundaes and traditional pick ‘n’ mix. The trolley is being taken around the home by team members, ensuring all residents can enjoy something sweet.

The ‘Food for Thought’ initiative sees Care UK homes across the country take part in activities which encourage memory sharing and the use of food as a tool for reminiscence.

Debbie Wheeler, Home Manager at Mill View, said:

“We had a wonderful time recreating sweets which residents remembered from their younger years and reminiscing about our favourite foods from the past.

“Reminiscence activities have many positive effects for older people, particularly those living with dementia. Re-connecting with the past can improve mood, encourage communication and provide a topic and stimulus for residents to engage with.

“Everyone had a wonderful time chatting about their favourite foods, and it was wonderful to hear about everyone’s fond memories of their childhoods.”

As part of the project, Care UK has also teamed up with BBC’s Back in Time for… presenter and historian, Dr Polly Russell, to create a special tasting menu for residents to enjoy. Designed to be used a sensory tool to encourage reminiscence in older people, the menu features iconic foods from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and has been used as part of an interactive storytelling session, hosted by Dr Polly, to encourage reminiscence.

Dr Polly commented: “I am delighted to have partnered with Care UK for this project. There really is something incredibly special about the way food can evoke memories and emotions. Just one flavour or smell can prompt a different memory and emotion for each individual, which is why food can be such a powerful tool for memory recall.”

Mill View has been designed to deliver the very best standards of care and to enable residents to live active and fulfilled lives. The home provides full-time residential, nursing and specialist dementia care, as well as short-term respite. The home features state of the art facilities including a cinema, café and activity space.

To find out more about Mill View, call Customer Relations Manager, Amy Batchelor, on 01342 887 940, or email [email protected]

To find out more about Care UK’s partnership with Dr Polly Russell, and for more top tips on how you and your loved ones can get involved at home, visit careuk.com/food-for-thought