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Call This Snow? Pah!!

Like most of the country I have woken up to a flurry of snow this morning.  I fear that I have joined the over 50’s brigade (Alot over 50!) as we bemoan the fuss that the young folk seem to make about the snow.  “Call this snow? Pah! The whole country comes to a standstill over a few flakes of snow – not like in my day.  We went to school with the snow tipping over the top of our wellies and never moaned,” you get the picture.  However, I know that I am doing all this grumbling while sitting here in my snug office, glad that I don’t have to go out in it!


Wintertime, especially these few weeks after the busy Christmas period, can be daunting for anyone with dementia and their family.  It can feel a little isolating if you are unable to get out or don’t feel confident to walk in the icy weather.  People can also feel tired after their routine has been disrupted by various family celebrations or visits.  Keeping occupied is a lovely way to relieve these feelings and provide the opportunity for some quiet time together, enjoying simple activities. 


Why not look through some old photographs of your garden in winters gone by – how snowy was it really?  Do you have pictures of outside spaces you used as a child – your garden, a park or even the beach in the winter?  Have a conversation about what you did out there (without incriminating yourself of course 😊) 

If it is safe, and you are confident enough, take a walk around your garden now.  What is starting to grow?  How do those bare branches look covered in snow or on a frosty morning?  Touch them, feel the different textures or if it really is too cold for you, just feel how lovely and soft your gloves feel on your hands.  Take a deep breath – I am sure cold air smells different to warm air – tell me if I am wrong.  Can you see any insects or birds?  Can you feed the birds?  What can you hear? Maybe take your camera or smart phone out and take a few photos.

Not all of us are able to head out into the cold, but there is plenty you can do inside.  Make some bird feeders to keep our feathered friends nice and full while natural food is scarce.  Spend some time looking out of the window watching them.  It is amazing where an hour can go when you are being entertained by a gang of sparrows. 

We are a bit soft of our birds here at R&T HQ.  We have some sparrows that live in our roof (known as Trevor and the gang), a whole host of pheasants who visit the field at the end of the garden (with names such as Phileas, Phyllis, Fiona, Phillipa, Philip…. you get the idea – there are a lot of them) and 3 HUGE geese called Gertie, Geraldine and Gloria.  Now these ladies have a lot of attitude and minimal gratitude.  I can be heard lecturing them on a regular basis.  For some reason, the pigeons and collared doves that visit have never been named – I am open to suggestions.  There is point to my ramblings here – I get so much pleasure from feeding these creatures, even the ungrateful hissy geese. 

 It is also a way to feel that you are looking after someone when you feel like you are the one always being taken care of.  That is a valuable feeling, to be able to nurture someone else and one that a diagnosis of dementia has the potential to rob us of.  Don’t let it, no matter where you are on your journey with dementia, you do still have so much to offer those around you.


Now is a great time to look forward too.  Gather together some plant or seed catalogues and plan what you are going to grow this year.  I know my husband dreads them coming through the door – to be fair to him, I do have enough seeds to grow plants to cover the globe 3 times over in my seed box – but as my Dad always said, “you never know when they might come in handy!” (This is a picture of about 10% of my collection - ok, about 5% of my collection but that is as low as I will go 😉)

You could sow some seeds to grow on your windowsill, maybe some salad leaves to help with that new year’s resolution to eat more healthily.  (I hope you can hear the humour in my voice there xx) It is not too late to pop a few daffodil or hyacinth bulbs in a pot and pop them on a cool windowsill.

If you are able to go out, why not look for some groups in your area?  There is a misconception sometimes that groups that offer activities for people affected by dementia are all Bingo and Biscuits.  Even that they are sad places to be that just focus on the dementia.  Let’s bust that myth.  I know that the groups we run are full of laughter, banter and creative activities.  I also know of lots of groups in other areas that are the same.  I will pop some links at the bottom of groups I know are a lot of fun – and rarely mention dementia.  You are so much more than that. x 

Here at Rosemary and Time our groups do have other activities rather than just gardening.  One of the most popular (apart from the cake!) is our seated exercise classes with Fiona.  If you are feeling a little cooped up and want to move more, have a little look on ‘the You Tube’ for some ideas.  A sensible note here – please only do what is comfortable and safe for you to do, it is not a competition.  Trust me, I actually burst out laughing when Fiona suggested one movement this week – although I think I was the only one that couldn’t do it despite being the youngest person in the room! 

Well that is enough jibber jabber from me, I hope that you are enjoying the beauty of the snow and keeping warm and safe.  I would love to hear your ideas of how you keep occupied on these cold days.


Links to local groups here in Lancashire and Cumbria

Alzheimer's Society run cafes and Singign for the Brain in many areas




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