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You Stink Nice

badsmellI’ve been doing a lot of reading this morning on how different scents trigger memories in persons with dementia.  This time of year, there are many stimulating aromas that can cause a person to recall an episode from the past, or just cause them to be a little more alert to the environment around them.  These can include Christmas trees, a pie just out of the oven, homemade bread, and so on.  It’s possible to find candles which simulate the fragrance of chocolate-chip cookies, apple pies, lemons, and so on.

This morning, I came across a website devoted to the construction of therapeutic landscapes, or scent gardens.  For those who enjoy gardening, this would be a wonderful activity to share between a person with dementia and his/her caregiver.  Not only could it trigger scent memories, but could also very likely tap into procedural memory (if this is something that he/she enjoyed), not to mention the benefits of getting out in the open air and doing something with someone you care about.  And enjoying the fruits of one’s labors can’t be discounted, either.

Therapeutic Landscapes Network is an extensive site full of examples of how we can use gardens and other forms of landscaping to help us find an inner peace, and to promote mental health and well-being.  I have to confess that I have been a poor gardener in the past.  I love to put out plants and flowering things, but always seem to forget to water them.  Invariably, these poor growing things would wither and die, and I finally decided that gardening was just not one of my talents.  But, after reading this site, I may have to try my hand at a few simple growing things again.

Oh, and there is a story behind the title of today’s piece.  I go back to my grandmother, who would be well over 100 years old if she were alive today.  She was a true angel, and I still feel her loss.  Anyway, she used to tell a story about a woman she met, who had come to the U.S. from Germany, and wasn’t quite fluent with the language of her adopted country  One day, she was trying to compliment another woman  on her new perfume, and said, “Oh, you stink nice!”

By the way, Grandma had such a green thumb!

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