Aromatherapy is a form of holistic therapy that provides useful benefits to loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Today, a variety of holistic therapies is recognized by the Alzheimer’s Association, the Mayo Clinic and Alzheimer’s research scientists as legitimate forms of treatment.
Scientific research has found that the aromas of certain oils can have beneficial effects on individuals with dementia by providing them with a sense of calm, comfort and well-being. Studies have reported there is a direct correlation between our sense of smell and memories and that certain aromas can evoke thoughts of the happier times among those with memory loss.
A beneficial complement to current medical treatments
Says Ms. Shellie Kermin, Community Relations Director of North Woods Village at Edison Lakes, “Today, leading residential memory care assisted living communities are providing a variety of credible holistic therapies to complement best-practice medical techniques. These therapies have been shown to reduce stress and agitation while enhancing the physical and emotional well-being of residents. Aromatherapy, music therapy, art therapy, pet therapy and reminiscence therapy all offer benefits and have useful places in the care and treatment of loved ones with memory impairment.”
Special benefits of aromatherapy
A Mayo Clinic article titled, “What Are the Benefits of Aromatherapy?” and studies published in The Journal of Quality Research in Dementia and The American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias conclude that aromatherapy has significant health benefits, including:
- Relief from anxiety and depression
- Improved quality of life, particularly for people who have chronic health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease
- Improved brain function
- Reduced agitation and aggressive behavior, sleeplessness and wandering
Natural substances used for aromatherapy
Scents and oils most commonly used for aromatherapy include:
- Lemon balm to induce calm and reduce agitation
- Lavender oil to foster relaxation
- Jasmine to promote alertness
- Other useful aromas – Fragrant flowers in the spring, a turkey in the oven at Thanksgiving, the smell of salt air at the beach and other familiar and pleasant aromas can evoke memories of happy times.
Ways to provide aromatherapy to your loved one
Aromatherapy can be administered in numerous ways. Experts recommended that if you apply an oil directly to the skin of your loved one, it should first be diluted. They believe the most effective methods for administering aromatherapy include:
- Misting device – Misting is an easy method for releasing the aroma of an essential oil into the air.
- Direct inhalation – Place two or three drops of the essential oil on a tissue for your loved one to inhale through the nose.
- Body oil – Body oils applied after a bath or shower deliver aromatherapy treatment through skin absorption.
- Massage – Massage combines the benefits of therapeutic touch with those of the essential oils.
- Cloth compresses – Add two to five drops of oil to water in a basin, stir well and soak a cloth in the water. Then ring out the cloth and apply it to the skin.
- Footbaths – Place two to four drops of oil in a tub of water to give your loved one a massaging footbath.
Aromatherapy is a legitimate holistic treatment that you can use to improve your loved one’s physical and emotional well-being and overall quality of life. You can also try other useful holistic approaches, using art, music, pets, family albums and old movies to help your loved one reconnect with life.
Help Is Available for Caregivers
If you’re caring for a loved one with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or other form of memory loss, please know that you are not alone. The team at North Woods Village is here to help you understand memory impairment and cope with the challenges you face every day. Progressive residential Memory Care providers, such as North Woods Village at Edison Lakes, offer a variety of educational programs, support and special events designed to help family caregivers. We can help you deliver the best quality care and quality of life for your loved one while taking care of yourself, too.
Guiding. Caring. Inspiring.
For caregivers who recognize that the needs of their loved one are beyond what they can safely and appropriately provide in the home environment, leading, residential Memory Care Assisted Living Communities (MCALs), such as North Woods Village at Edison Lakes and its “NEW DIRECTIONS”SM program in Mishawaka, IN, provide the full continuum of services that have been shown to improve health and well-being, support brain health and delay the progression of memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
At North Woods Village at Edison Lakes, we believe senior adults thrive in an environment that offers an active, vibrant lifestyle with a variety of activities that engage the mind, body and spirit. Our “NEW DIRECTIONS”SM provides a safe, professional environment and proven, best-practice programs and services specifically designed to address the total physical, emotional and social needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia or other serious form of memory impairment.
For more information and helpful resources on aromatherapy for your loved one, contact us today!