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September 30, 2020 3 min read

Well here we are...the end of September, and fall is officially here.  I admit that Spring is my favorite season because it signifies the reawakening of warmer weather, colors and plant life, but fall is a close second because of the cooler weather, colorful leaves, and sweater nights, but it’s also the warning that the cold days of winter are coming and it’ll be time for hibernation. To prepare myself for the months ahead, I decided to take a road trip to see parts of the country that I have not seen, and to finally see my daughters who I have not seen since December! I decided that this trip would be one that would revive my soul and get me prepared for the months ahead.  Along the trip, I smelled everything from cattle farms and freshly mown hay going through Pennsylvania, to the cool crisp water of Lake Erie in Cleveland, and then the wonderful leathery smell of Kentucky Bourbon. With these types of sensory experiences, my thoughts always go to those who are not able to enjoy it.  Which is why I think I have to concoct more of these types of scents for my smelling sessions.  The brainstorming of new scents must begin!

With COVID-19 still looming, assisted living communities are struggling to get back to a regular schedule of activities, and those that do occur are often virtual. We are living in a Zoom, Facebook and Google Chat world, and I’m ready to adjust to this new normal for Essential Awakenings® Smell and Memory activities.  It may sound almost impossible, but it is not.  This is what you’ll need, and how it can be done: 

1). The ALC or Senior Center will need a large computer screen, and the Zoom Ap, or any other preferred.  I use Zoom, but can use others too.  

2). The Essential Awakenings® kits:  A 1st and 2nd Edition with 6 scents each that I carefully selected based on their ability to spark conversation and also as scents that resonate with as many people as possible who come from diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds. 

3). Most communities have Life Experience and/or Program Directors, sho I will need to communicate with them with regard to the sequence of scents so they can pre-apply the scents to the paper smelling strips and distribute them to the attendees during our activity session. 

4). The Program Director and I will coordinate a time for a 40 minute session, for which I will send an email invitation with Log-in information. 

5). To make the activity most effective, a small group per community is preferred (or whatever the current health allowances are for the community).  The beauty of this activity is that multiple communities from different time zones within your organization can be present as well! I’m excited to think about how fun the interactions will be!

Right now though, I will be completing my road trip to the Midwest so that I can hug my daughters and will be back to my home office mid-October.  In the meantime, I’ll be working on finessing my tech savviness so as to gear up for sessions this fall and winter to help all of us get through the months ahead.  The holidays are coming, so you can better believe I’ll have the smell of apples, pine, popcorn, chocolate and cinnamon on hand to tell stories of holiday happiness!

As always, feel free to email me any time with questions and to start scheduling Essential Awakenings® sessions for the end of October through to Christmas.  Weekdays are preferable. 

Have a wonderful autumn!

- Ruth


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