How Easter and the smell of Lilac in Asheville, North Carolina has connected me to the seniors living at Brookdale Senior Living’s Dementia And Alzheimer’s Community.
In memory of my mother, Nancy Sutcliffe, who passed away in early February 2016 from dementia-related causes, I want to share some of my best, heart-felt memories of her with you: From Hawaii to Arkansas: My mother was a strong-willed-inside and soft-spoken-outside tiny 5' lady of Japanese American decent who was raised on the beautiful island of Kauai, Hawaii. She was one of a few fortunate Japanese Americans to not have been put into an internment camp during WWII, but were carefully watched anyway, as I vividly recall seeing an old black and white photo of her with a soldier standing nearby. Regardless of my claims, my mother was fiercely proud to be American and never admitted to being treated as an outsider. After the war, she travelled to Chicago, where she met my father, and gave birth to my older sister, brother and I. My family eventually moved "out of the rat race" to St. Louis, and then to Eureka Springs, Arkansas where my paternal grandparents had retired. The family homestead included several acres of lush green pastures and woodlands, and so my father was determined to use this land to become a farmer while earning a meager living as a schoolteacher. We raised goats, chickens, rabbits and pigs, grew a garden and picked apples, pears and peaches from our trees to "live off the land". Life was hard on the farm, but it taught me a lot about nature, animal life and about sacrifices my mother made in her life in order to devote herself to nurture and care for her family. When mom aged and had to go into an Assisted Living Community, she refused my offer to come live in Connecticut with me and my husband saying: "Arkansas is my home." She was always loyal. Church, Farm, and Home: I had two pairs of shoes growing up: One for farming and one for school, but my mother let us purchase a new pair of shoes each spring for Easter Sunday and special occasions. I looked forward to that time when I could open and smell the freshly printed pages of Sears Roebuck or Montgomery Ward to select my new shoes! We went to church almost every Sunday, and I loved being able to put on a pretty dress that my mother would often make, wear my new shoes and get treated to fruit punch and cake in the hall afterwards. My mother often sewed our dress clothes on her black metal Singer Sewing Machine and I would stand next to her and watch as her hands guided the fabric for stitching, while smelling the warmth and inimitable odor of the machine's engine while it its needle worked with the pressure of her foot of the peddle. Our home was small and simply furnished, and like many homes our lives were spent mostly in the kitchen which was the hub of most activities, and where the smell of my mother's coffee percolating became our alarm clock each morning. The aroma of coffee meant that it was the start of another day and time to get dressed, then go to the barn and tend to our selected chores of milking goats, feeding the pigs, rabbits and chickens and collecting eggs. My siblings and I would often argue about what chores we had to do, and so it was my mother who was the referee, the coach and the judge on who was to do what. Barns have bad odors and I was particularly happy to leave them behind when I left the farm for New York to search for a career in fashion. Although those odors were left behind, they are immediately recalled whenever I take road trips to the countryside, and can usually decipher whether I am passing a pig, chicken, or cattle farm just by its smell. My mother made all meals and desserts in our kitchen from scratch. We seldom used anything that came in a box or a can, unless it was winter time and all of our frozen vegetables or stock of preserved fruits were consumed. Planting season came when father turned the soil and we'd go and plant seeds in allocated plots of almost every vegetable imaginable. Summertime meant going out to weed nuisances like alfalfa grass that choked the young growing vegetable plants, so pulling i...
It's been a particularly busy month for Essential Awakenings™. I've had some exciting new clients including a University. But that's only a portion of what else happened this month!
I am so excited about road trips because it gives me a chance to see parts of the country that I don't usually get to see. I have driven 4 states today: From my home state of Connecticut, through parts of New York, New Jersey and all the way through Pennsylvania to Pittsburgh. I had my CD deck with old rock and roll biggies such as The Who, Neil Young and the mellow Cat Stevens. Peter Gabriel's double CD took me through most of the state of Pennsylvania and I really loved hearing his big hit "Sledgehammer" again! When I take my road trips, I make several rules for myself: Drink plenty of water so I HAVE to stop, and do not drive after dark. I went from sunny 40 degrees in Connecticut to lower than 25 degrees and snowfall when traveling through the mountains of Pennsylvania. My keen sense of smell caught the odors of everything from frying oil, pizza, and soap at the rest stop to the smell of animal manure while traveling through the Pennsylvania farm land. I arrived in Pittsburgh just in time to take in some fantastic pop art at the Andy Warhol Museum 45 minutes before they closed, and then found my hotel. Art first! Now settling down for the night, I'm anticipating a good day of travel tomorrow as I head for Louisville, KY. I passed through Louisville on my last road trip to the midwest, but did not have a chance to discover enough of what this city has to offer. Most know Louisville for The Kentucky Derby and the Slugger Museum, but I think I'll go to The Muhammad Ali Center and pay tribute to this great human being. I will then find a restaurant downtown to feast on some spareribs rubbed with good ole Kentucky bourbon! Most people do not know that Louisville is also the 29th largest city in the US and appears to be a new center for healthcare that includes The Thrive Center, where I have an appointment on Friday with the CEO to present the Essential Awakenings ™ Smell and Memory Kits. I am so excited about this appointment, and will tell you all about it in a few days. Here is some information I found on the internet about the center: The Thrive Center Inc. is a nonprofit 501©3 technology innovation, and educational center designed to enhance the quality of life for those aged 50+. Located in the heart of NULU in downtown Louisville, KY, the center occupies 7,500 square foot space that features innovative technology, specialized programming to enhance elder wellness and a series of educational programs for the community. Through its innovative products, dynamic programming for elders and clinical assessment tools, the Thrive Center is poised for global impact as a cutting-edge innovation facility to promote healthy aging. Aging well is the ultimate goal! Creative solutions to everyday problems are solved with innovative technology and collaborative partnerships, which benefit all. The 50+ market has a significant impact on the global economy.According to AARP, one hundred and six million people, aged 50 or older account for $7.1 trillion in economic activity, $3.1 trillion in consumer spending and $1.3 trillion in healthcare spending. Thrive is the logical connecting point where entrepreneurs can offer feasible solutions in a challenging market.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it signifies family togetherness and sharing what we are thankful for. But Thanksgiving shouldn't be the only day we express our gratefulness -- it should be every day. I am forever thankful to companies like Firmenich, Orlandi, Givaudan, Mane USA and Symrise who believed in me and my product concept when I presented the Essential Awakenings Smell and Memory tool kit idea in 2016. I also thank Atria of Stamford, River House of Cos Cob, The Greens of Greenwich, and The Hebrew Home at Riverdale who embraced the innovative sensory program I developed with the goal of enriching the lives of the elderly through the sense of smell. It was through these smelling sessions that allowed me to develop the best kit I felt would benefit caregivers, families and the program directors at senior homes. I am also grateful to my husband who supported the product idea from the very beginning and encouraged me to continue when things were challenging. Finally, all of us should be thankful for the scientists who are studying the causes of Alzheimer's and the caretakers of our loved ones who suffer from the disease. So for this day and always, I hope that you will share your own sentiments for what you are thankful for and cherish your elders for what they have done and taught us. November is Alzheimer's Disease Awareness month, and so for today until the end of the month, The Scent Guru Group will be offering 20% off of all purchases. Consider a purchase that would be a gift to the entire family.
I just read an article about a new perfume that one of my favorite perfumers, Frank Voelkl of Firmenich developed for the young exciting fashion designer, Jason Wu, and how the scent of jasmine took him back to his childhood home in Taiwan. Jasmine is one of the "essential smells" in the Scent Guru Group's Essential Awakenings Premier Edition. Women for many years have worn perfumes with jasmine as one of the main ingredients and one of the most famous: Joy by Jean Patou, which, for many years was known as the most expensive perfume out on the market. One smell of the jasmine in my kit could take you back in time, or to someone who used to wear it. Great memories can live forever.
We love this picture! Ruth Sutcliffe Heagney (center), founder of The Scent Guru Group LLC, enjoying an Essential Awakenings Smell and Memory session with Sunny (left) and Sheldon (right) at the award-winning assisted living community, The Greens At Greenwich in Greenwich, CT.
We wanted to share this article which appeared in the New Haven Register this morning. Very promising news on how a drug compound originally created in an effort to treat schizophrenia has been effective in reversing Alzheimer's symptoms in mice. http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20170706/drug-shown-to-reverse-alzheimers-symptoms-in-mice-yale-study-shows
1. The sense of smell and taste are part of the olfactory system, and is housed in the limbic system, the most ancient part of the brain that is thought to be the seat of emotion. 2. The sense of smell plays a vital role in our sense of well-being and quality of life. It brings us into harmony with nature, warns us of dangers, sharpens our sense of our surroundings, and can even take us back to moments in our life long ago. 3. No two people smell the same odor the same way, so in other words, a rose may smell sweeter to some people than to others, and some people may love the smell of lemon while others draw back from it. 4. The average human being is able to recognize approximately 10,000 different odors. 5. Your sense of smell varies throughout the day depending on the environment, which is why a scent might smell different from morning to night, or from one day to the next. 6. Studies from Neuromarketing show that smell triggers 75% of emotions and memory. The Sense of Smell Institute found that over the course of a year, memory recall from scent is an amazing 65%, higher than any other form.
It's no coincidence that The Scent Guru Group chose to launch the Premier Edition of its Essential Awakenings Smell and Memory Kits in June. That's because June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month. We hope you will enjoy sharing the experience of one of our kits with a loved one or special group you are steering through a difficult time as a caregiver in this very important month of June.
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