Sometimes memories can help so much 

Torbay Weekly

As I sat in a world all of my own I was suddenly taken back over 50 years by a smell that I recognised straight away.

It was Moss Street baths in my home town of Bolton and I was about seven years old.

I could smell the chlorine in the air, feel the heat from the water in the swimming pool and hear all the kids screaming and laughing, splashing about learning how to swim.

I sniffed again and again and I am sure I could smell the hot chocolate out of the machine which we used to save 2d for and after swimming and walking home in the cold it was the best taste in the world.

As quick as it came it went, and I found myself back in my flat in 2021 wondering what had just happened but knowing deep down I had just had one of my dementia 'moments' as we call it.

So you see, sometimes it’s not all bad as a feeling of warmth and reassurance enveloped me as I remembered times of my youth which were so important to me both then and now.

Memories are such an integral part of life and when dementia hits, it's absolutely devastating to think you will begin to forget these things and most of all the others you have gathered over the years and fall into an abyss of forgetfulness.

Please never ever underestimate how upsetting and tragic this is but also please remember we can help those with dementia rekindle these memories in the simplest of ways through smells and aromas.

Now, I have to say I am not a huge fan of aromatherapy, good luck to all that do, and if it works for you then so be it, I am a huge believer in live and let live - but what I am talking about is the kind of smells we remember from our youth and not something that will allegedly cure a headache.

We have known people with dementia who used to be footballers and whose carers purposely take them to the park when the grass is cut in spring.

Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like the smell of cut grass?

Or they have done something as simple as bought fresh peas in a pod, not only do they smell great but I for one have so many happy memories popping those peas with my granddad and sitting in the garden eating them.

Everyday smells can be recreated all around the house from long ago from fresh flowers to baking cakes.

We can help so very much, much more than we probably know.

Tastes from the past also work so very well.

When was the last time you asked someone what was their all-time fave pop from the past and then gone out and bought them a bottle of dandelion and burdock or Tizer or cream soda?

When you think about it, it’s not very hard is it and it can bring so much pleasure and these days retro sweets such as Blackjacks, Coltsfoot Rock, Dolly Mixtures jelly beans and so on are easy to get hold, then why wouldn’t you?

Memories are so very precious, dear friends, and something we should all cherish. They are our past, our now and our future.

If we don’t remember where we have been, how do we know where we are going

So, next time you pop down the shops maybe put a bag of Refreshers on your shopping list - you never know what memories they may bring back.