For many seniors, healthcare is a daily concern. For those over 65 and in good health, prevention is even more important than fighting against any health issues that may arise. While traditional prescription medication can play a role in health and wellness, more seniors turn to holistic and natural alternatives to feel their best. Aromatherapy and essential oils are gaining popularity, reducing anxiety, encouraging a serene mood, and allowing for better sleep.
Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic essential oils for therapeutic benefits through the senses. Humans have used aromatherapy for thousands of years, using natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. Aromatic essential oils are used medicinally to improve the health of the body, mind, and spirit. Cultures in China, India, Egypt integrate aromatic plant components into resins, balms, and oils. Aromatherapy is increasingly gaining acceptance in both science and medicine.
Why Is Aromatherapy Helpful for Seniors?
For the elderly, the sense of smell can diminish as they age. Interestingly, aromatherapy is not dependent on the sense of smell. While the scents are pleasing, that is not their primary purpose. Molecules from the oil still travel through the nose to the limbic system, supporting emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and olfaction.
There are four basic ways that aromatherapy can bring relief and peace to senior citizens. If your loved one wants to try this method of stress relief, here is the information you need.
- Diffusers: A diffuser is a popular way to use essential oils in an adult resident or medical environment. (Be sure to ask for permission.) The diffuser uses distilled water and a few drops of essential oil. The liquid oil is transformed into a cold vapor and dispersed into the air. Studies have proven that diffusion has the most efficient results for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients and can improve mood and short-term memory.
- Linen Spray: These sprays can be used on any piece of cloth in a resident’s residence. Generally, the spray is applied to sheets or pillowcases before bedtime to help with a peaceful night’s sleep.
- Felt Patch: A patch can be infused with essential oils attached to an article of clothing, allowing the benefits without skin contact.
- Necklace: Essential oils can be placed directly on a pendant and worn around the neck.
Seven Popular Essential Oils
Below, we have listed seven essential oils to help promote well-being for seniors.
- A lemon essential oil can bring energy, decrease fatigue and promote appetite. Lemon is thought to have a purifying and stimulating effect.
- Lavender essential oils have a calming and relaxing effect and have been observed to minimize general discomfort. Lavender helps with sleeping issues and gives an overall sense of peace.
- Peppermint essential oils have traditionally been used to treat motion sickness and nausea. It also eases tension, reduces pain (such as headaches), and can help to reduce mental fatigue.
- Bergamot essential oils ease pain and help with digestion. It is energizing and uplifts the spirit, keeping depression and anxiety at bay.
- Orange essential oils are also energizing and purifying. Orange can overcome foul odors and maintain a pleasant aroma in the room. Orange helps with digestion and can help with depression.
- Chamomile is very soothing and can lower irritability by balancing your mood and decreasing mood swings. Chamomile can also relieve some aches and pains by relaxing the nervous system and helping with digestion.
- Marjoram essential oils are used to ease pain, specifically when people suffer from headaches. Marjoram is effective for relieving muscle aches and bringing an overall sense of calm.
A Banyan Residence is a professional and compassionate adult living residence in Venice, Florida. We are dedicated to the overall health and wellness of your loved one. If you have any questions regarding assisted living or memory care, call us today.