The changing seasons of dementia

Torbay Weekly

As spring explodes into our lives and the tentative thoughts of the pandemic being just a memory, we have so much to look forward to, especially here in glorious Torbay.

It really is the best place in the world to live. Yes, we all have our ups and downs and don’t always agree with each other, but I am sure there is one thing we agree on - for sights, sunshine, attractions and surrounding countryside, I really don’t think it can be beaten

I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else in the world at this time of year with the glorious changing colours of spring with daffodils along the roads, nodding their heads, and primroses waving in the wind.

I was gazing at these wonderful views on my way to Budleigh Salterton this morning when I started to think about how the seasons are very similar to life itself and the connection with dementia.

Suddenly it all becomes very clear.

Spring is like our births when the newborn 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.

As in birth itself, it's quite miraculous to think that after all the hardships of the cold weather, once again life emerges.

Summer is all about things growing up and turning into adulthood while showing off their wonderful coats and colours, becoming mature and settled.

All seems well with the world and we think we are invincible, nothing can beat us and the world really is our oyster. So much to look forward to, so much yet to do.

Autumn is as we get older and things start to change. This is also the season that reminds me of my own illness of dementia 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, and we still need looking after and nurturing as does all living things.

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 - 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 even then there is hope - not of a cure but of some kind of recognition, a late bloom right at the end just to show all that we with dementia still love those around us.

I hope you have all enjoyed this little walk through the seasons with me, and even though it may seem like a sad one, it’s certainly not, so much happens before dementia descends, always remember the three seasons before winter and all it entails.

People live so many different and varied lives and by continuously reminding them of this and asking about their lives, the season will come back to them and once again they will enjoy walking through the seasons of their lives, remembering when, and most of all smiling as they do it.