The torrential rainfall that has covered Asheville, NC for the past two days has left the Cherry Blossoms falling to the ground, while Azaleas, Tulips, and Dogwood are in full bloom and peppering this beautiful city with their clusters of vibrant colors giving a great sense of new life to this beautiful city. The only downside to these flowers is that they have little, or no scent at all. But the early-blooming Honeysuckle and Lilacs do— and their scent can be caught wafting in the air each time the cool mountain breeze blows.
This Easter morning, my family took a walk in the historic area of Montford, and I was thrilled to see these beautiful magenta colored Lilacs that I had hoped I would see because we do not have the pleasure of these heady scented flowers in Connecticut until May.
Lilacs are one of the 6 aromas that I had developed for the 2nd Edition of Essential Awakenings® Smell And Memory Activity Kits because in the dead of winter, you don’t have the pleasure or opportunity of smelling them. This is the same for other aromas in my kits and so, with the two appointments I pre-scheduled for my trip to Asheville this weekend, I chose the themes of Easter and Spring and selected 6 of my smell prompts that correspond to the theme: Lilac, Grass, Chocolate, Mint, Cinnamon and Jasmine, and loaded my iPad with photos of all aromas selected and on this beautiful Easter afternoon, I set off for Brookdale Senior Living for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care At Walden Ridge.
Once at Brookdale, I was met by the Activities Director named Cindy, who is vivacious and friendly and she lead me to the activities area where about 15 seniors sat in a circle waiting for me to give my presentation. Some wanted to give me kisses, others said “thank you for coming”, and I started my introduction talking about the sense of smell, and how it is the most underrated sense that we have. I talked about what Easter celebrations my family had as a child, and what Spring means to me from Easter Egg Hunts to Mint Juleps and Mint Jelly served on the side of lamb and my love of chocolate. Chocolate is always a hit with almost everyone. It brings smiles to faces as we talk about Chocolate Bunnies and how the Smell of Grass recalls days of playing outside, baseball games and freshly mown lawns. The smelling session ended with the smell of Lilac that recalled memories of vacations on an island where one of the couples in attendance spent their summers and the lilac bushes outside of their family home.
Essential Awakenings® Smell and Memory Sessions uplift lives of our seniors living with Dementia and Alzheimer’s as well as respite to their families and caregivers who are looking for activities to enrich the lives of their loved ones who are living with this condition. I do this for the love and memory of my mother, and for empathy of others in the same situation. It is a truly magical how scent can recall memories and engage seniors in communication, socialization and emotional connection.