News – Tagged "Aroma Therapy" – Essential Awakenings

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Essential Awakenings® Smell.Recall.Connect: Creating An Activity For Wellbeing

Essential Awakenings® Smell.Recall.Connect: Creating An Activity For Wellbeing

My quest to develop the Essential Awakenings® Smell.Recall.Connect as the first aroma-based activity for caregivers, families and Assisted Living Communities helping seniors living with dementia has been a long road, but I can now say that what I have developed is definitely showing results and bringing joy to seniors in a big way.  Even though the original plan was to provide smell prompts to recall memories, its purpose and outcome has broadened and it has become a vehicle for a social activity that facilitates conversation and storytelling. According to the Cleveland Clinic, studies show that people who stay connected with the most social interaction experience the slowest rate of memory decline, and that "a rich social network provides sources of support, reduces stress, combats depression and enhances intellectual stimulation." Essential Awakenings® was a project of passion-with-a-purpose that was spawned after my mother died of dementia- related causes in 2016, but the seed for a sensory-based activity for seniors had already been planted years before, when I realized I saw loneliness and desperation in the eyes of my mother and others living in the Assisted Communities where she lived for over 7 years until her death.   The Essential Awakenings® Smell.Recall.Connect development required endless hours of planning, research, and walking the walk.  I started giving smelling sessions at communities in my area in 2017, and whenever I travelled, I made advance cold-calls to communities in my destination to schedule sessions. By doing so, I have been able to bring the magic of aroma to seniors living in New York, Connecticut, North Carolina, Arkansas, Kentucky and Florida! It was through this process that I was able to determine just which aromas would resonate the best by garnering the most conversation and positive memories. I endured many sleepless nights of worrying of the chance of success, and there were days where my nerves were often on edge because I knew I would be taking a sizable financial risk if I were to go forward in manufacturing. I almost decided to call it quits, but realized that I had come so far, with so much work already behind me and knew I was enriching the lives of a countless number of people along the way, that one day I just decided to "just do it". As Shark Barbara Corcoran has said, "Creating a business is all about taking risks."  So I proceeded to dig into my personal funds, took a deep breath, and marched forward with production one step at a time.  To this date, I have given more than 80 smelling sessions with more than 1000 people in attendance and have sold kits as far away as Singapore and New Zealand. So what are the actual benefits are for this new activity for seniors? Besides building the awareness of the value of our sense of smell, seniors share memories, interact in conversation regarding these memories and tell stories of their family traditions, vacations, experiences growing up or even tell us about their favorite perfume.  The point is, they are connecting with each other. As an example, I'm including anecdotes and testimonials from some of the most remarkable moments from Essential Awakenings® sessions: "My sense of smell helped save my life in Vietnam." - As told by Tim in a smelling session at Riverhouse Senior Center in Cos Cob, CT When smelling mint, Vince R. of ComForCare Agency in Stamford, CT said: "This takes me back to my honeymoon in Morocco."  When I asked him when he last talked about mint tea in Morocco, he responded "26 years ago." "It is really a successful tool to create a conversation....and to engage the staff with the ladies.  Karlette said the pine smelled like her grandmother’s bathroom in Jamaica.  She did not expect to be so moved.   This memory got the ladies talking about grandmothers.  It is a very profound experience.”  Thank you for getting it for us. - Donna Booth, Program Manager, Abilis, Greenwich, CT “Our elders living in our home have enjoyed...

Holiday Traditions And Its Scent Memories

Holiday Traditions And Its Scent Memories

The holidays are a time when we often reflect on the past year with hopes of going forward with good health and happiness. We anxiously await to participate in traditions that have been the glue to keep families together.  It was my mother who instilled tradition in my family by organizing all the tasks needed before and after the festive dinner when she'd take out our china she and my father received on their wedding day.   Growing up on a small farm in rural America was scent memory filled  during the Christmas season: It started with a trip to the woods with my father to help select the right Christmas tree to bring back to our little farm house.  The scent of pine or fir would fill the air as he sawed a straight edge at the tree's stem for balance in the stand before my siblings and I adorned it with ornaments that included peppermint sticks and strings of popcorn (both slowly disappeared over the days).  Christmas Eve always meant a visit to my grandmother's house for fruitcake and cups of her spiked eggnog sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg on top. Before bed, my mother would leave ginger man cookies "for Santa" while we all lay in bed thinking about what was in those gifts until we finally went to sleep. When morning arrived, we scrambled for the tree always ripping open the biggest box first before  the reality of our daily farm chores separated us from our joy of gifts. The barn--that dirty, smelly place of goats, chickens and pigs! Breakfast was a feast in itself as my father believed in big ones:  Crisp smell of bacon, eggs or pancakes with maple syrup, toast and the smell of my mother's coffee.   As I've entered this holiday season, I reflect on my childhood memories and of my mother who helped form them. It's those simple pleasures in life that remain the most treasured.  My message to you is to encourage you to spend time with loved ones who have instilled family traditions in our lives, and to try and recall every little aroma that connects to them during those precious times.