DS Smith and Museum of Brands give UK dementia patients a trip down memory lane with heritage product boxes
06 Mar 2023 --- DS Smith has collaborated with the Museum of Brands in London, UK, to help tackle loneliness and encourage bonding by developing a special Brand Box for those with dementia and their caregivers.
Dementia is a group of disorders that result in difficulty in remembering. The most commonly known form of dementia is Alzheimer’s. However, dementia can also be a natural side effect of aging.
The box is designed to be sent through the letterbox to help those who may not be able to leave the house. It will contain a selection of heritage brands, such as Pears Soap, Vaseline and Kit Kat, to encourage reminiscing and bring back positive memories.
“As part of our international Community Program, we’re pleased to provide for our communities and offer a valuable resource for those suffering with dementia and those that care for them,” says Rob Wheatcroft, e-commerce and innovation specialist at DS Smith.
A box of memories
Creating a memory box is a common method for people with dementia, as it can provoke otherwise forgotten memories or give the recipient joy.
A memory box is usually a personally curated box with items that hold strong memories, such as photographs or perfume. The box’s effectiveness derives from its emotional response, prompting memories to resurface.
DS Smith and the Museum of Brands are adopting the concept to help people recollect brands they may have been familiar with before their disorder.
The Brand Boxes will have games and activities designed to stimulate memory. For example, Match the Brand Mascot, War-Time Cookery and an activity guide with descriptions and fun facts about the objects in the pack. It also aims to give carers and those they care for the ability to bond over precious memories.
Helping one million people
According to The Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK, approximately one million people in Britain are estimated to live with dementia – including 7.1% of people over 65. Over half of all UK citizens will know someone diagnosed with the disease.
Additionally, over 670,000 people in the UK act as primary, unpaid carers to people with dementia. An unpaid primary caregiver can be someone like a family member or close friend.
“This letterbox-sized pack Brand Box is also reusable so it can be sent to friends and family and is recyclable at the end of life as part of our transition to a circular economy,” continues Wheatcroft.
Brand Boxes will be sent free of charge to carers and people with dementia, especially those digitally excluded, from April 2023. An initial pilot of 1,000 boxes will be available with funding from The DS Smith Charitable Foundation.
The boxes are a part of the Museum of Brand’s Living Brands initiative. The initiative offers creative activities, engaging events and training opportunities to support people living with dementia, their families and care professionals.
Previously, DS Smith partnered with Do it your’sel, a French association that makes “Do it yourself” salt, where 100% of the profits are donated to support those with multiple disabilities. It created packaging for the product in one week for sale during the holiday season.
In other news, Microsoft and Haleon launched a new feature to Microsoft’s Seeing AI app last year that reads health product labels aloud for people who are blind or have impaired vision.
The app provides an audio read-out of important information, such as product name, ingredients and usage instructions, by scanning the barcode of over 1,500 consumer health products.
Innova Market Insights recently flagged “Meaningful connections” as a top packaging trend for 2023, noting how connected technologies are increasingly being employed as tools to support inclusivity.
By Sabine Waldeck
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