A SMELLY activity saw Hartlepool care home residents take a trip down memory lane as part of a therapeutic reminiscence session.
Carbolic soap, lavender, Germolene antiseptic cream, cut grass, marzipan and pear drops were among odours sniffed by residents at Queens Meadow Care Home, on Stockton Road.
The session aimed to bring back memories associated with the smells, with residents sharing their stories among the group.
The soap was particularly successful, with many residents recalling its strong aroma.
Irene Casswell, 93, said: “I remember that smell. It always did stink. I remember it being pink and red and came in a bar called lifebuoy.”
Flo Thompson, 75, said: “It reminds me of the olden days, when I was young, and of washdays, when we used sunlight soap to scrub collars on shirts and dirty clothes using a wash board.”
Celia Raynor, 83, said: “I remember the distinctive smell of carbolic soap.”
Tom Hughes, 90, said: “I remember it being mixed with sugar to make a poultice for infected wounds.”
The lavender oil reminded Irene of making little bags of fresh dried lavender to place in drawers and wardrobes to keep them smelling pleasant.
Germolene sparked a conversation among all the ladies, who remember it being in a tin and the colour pink. Celia said: “My grandmother covered me in it because I had spots, so I have never forgotten the smell.”
The cut grass brought back many fond childhood memories for the residents, with Irene saying it took her back to being a little girl.
Marzipan was associated with celebrations for many residents. Flo said: “It reminds me of baking Christmas cakes, which we nearly always used for New Years Eve celebrations.”
Pear drops were a firm favourite among the residents, as they could all recall eating them as children. Tom said: “I remember these from many years ago, as they have been around a long time. They were always two colours.”
Debbie Wilkes, activities coordinator at Queens Meadow Care Home, said: “The smelling reminiscence session was really interesting, listening to the residents’ stories and seeing them light up when they recognised one of the smells.
“It was fascinating to see how a certain smell could help them remember old memories. It was really good to watch and listen.
“Activities like this can be very therapeutic for elderly residents, especially those with dementia, as it can spark fond memories they may not have recalled for a long time.”