Aromas of plants evoke so many memories

Undated Handout Photo of a rose bush. See PA Feature GARDENING Valentine. Picture credit should read

Having a garden to go into always gave me something else to think about. - Credit: Press Association Images

There are many things people can do to try and help their memory, even when you have dementia like me, and I am convinced that always keeping busy, if you can, is so advantageous.

As you know, I love coarse fishing and have had the same carer now for four years which is usual in itself, Peter, who taught me everything I know about fishing - thanks, Peter - but for years and years I have always had a love of gardening.

In fact one, of my first jobs when I came to this wonderful town over 20-odd years ago was in the garden centre at the Great Mills DIY store on Newton Road, Torquay, which I am sure was used by many who will read this and still sadly missed.

I have to admit it was a job straight from heaven as I was outside in the fresh air, doing a job I absolutely loved, and I was getting paid at the same time! What more could I ask?

But I was a victim of my own success as three years later I found myself being the assistant manager of the store and mostly stuck in an office!

I have to admit being told off so many times by the area manager as he would always catch me in jeans and company T shirt, instead of shirt and tie, working alongside the lad in the garden centre. 

My love of gardening also helped me when I was diagnosed with this awful disease, because when you are, and the reality sinks in that it’s a terminal disease and there is no known cure at the moment, it’s very hard to accept.

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Having a garden to go into always gave me something else to think about.

As any gardener will tell you, it’s never ever finished and there is always something to do but as well as keeping busy, it helps in other ways as well.

The aromas of plants evoke so many memories - a rose bush that your gran had, a rosemary bush, lavender plants and stocks that mum used to grow, cut grass from a lawn when you played on the park or played football as a child, all these things, and more can remind us of so many times gone by and help us remember things we had thought we had forgotten.

I have to admit before my dementia I was a bit of a geek and used to know many of the Latin names as well as common names of the plants but sadly those days are gone now as I have trouble remembering the English names but I am so very lucky to say where we live, we have a largish garden with raised beds as well for growing veg and it’s taken us nine years to get it it something like as it was just a building site when we moved into the assisted living housing where we live.

It was so worth it. As I sit here and write this, I can look out the window and see the plum tree still flowering, the wallflowers in full bloom and the roses just coming into bud, the apples trees in flowers and the aquilegias in full colour.

So you see, when you’re diagnosed with dementia or any another terminal illness, all is not lost because we have so much around us that can enrich our lives, no matter how long we have left.

And truthfully? Nobody knows that, do they?