Dementia - the autumn of your life? 

Autumn leaves

Autumn is the season that reminds me of my illness the most. - Credit: Stephen Coombes

I couldn't imagine living anywhere else in the world than Torbay with the glorious changing colours of the seasons.

And because it’s now almost autumn, I was gazing at these wonderful views on my way to Budleigh Salterton when I started to think about how the seasons are very similar to life itself and the connection with dementia.

There are so many similarities when you blend the two together and I must admit I am partial to an analogy as you will read.

Spring is like our births when the new-born flowers and the rebirth of others push through the soil and are there for all to see with their fresh and young shoots growing rapidly into something quite beautiful - a new life, a new beginning, a new and fresh spring start.

Summer is all about things growing up, just as we do in life, getting ever taller and bigger, reaching for the sun and so grateful to have summer's warmth on our backs and faces.

Then, turning into adulthood while showing off their wonderful coats and colours, becoming mature, settled and doing the best we can with what we have, even sometimes setting seed for the next generation to come along.

Autumn is as we get older and things start to change.

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This is also the season that reminds me of my illness the most.

As the trees and landscapes change their colours, so do we with this awful illness and things seem to take on a different meaning.

The leaves slowly but surely decay and start to look a shadow of their former selves.

But as with anything, all is not lost.

If you look very closely, beyond the falling leaves and into the landscape you can still see the same beauty and soul that lives on within all of us.

We are still here, as are the trees and fields, still standing, even though they look a little bare, and we still need looking after and nurturing as does all living things.

Then, unfortunately, along comes the bleakness of winter - late stages of dementia - when nothing seems to grow anymore and the landscape seems to fall silent.

This is the worst time of all, especially for the nature lovers - carers and loved ones, family - who just want things to get back to normal and the fields and trees to blossom again.

But as we know, they sadly cannot during winter.

But what we must never forget is those seasons gone past and those new seasons to come.

It’s not all about the winters of life but everything else that goes with it.

I hope you have all enjoyed this little walk through the seasons with me and remembering that even though dementia may call, there is always something positive to come out of it and to think about, and even though it may seem a sad one, it’s not, and as I said, always remember the three seasons before winter and all it entails, the love, the memories and the laughter you have during the spring, summer and autumn of your life, and even the winter sometimes.

Hey, after all, who doesn’t like Christmas? Yes, I suppose it’s safe enough now to mention that word, especially as all the shops have already stocked up with mince pies and decorations and presents.

Whatever the season, whatever you do, always enjoy the time you have with family and friends - no one knows what`s around that corner.

I hope these memories stay with you forever.