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Home Care for the Elderly Using Aromatherapy

Date Posted: March 4, 2016                                                                   lavender-bottles.jpg

 

Having an elderly person at home to care for comes with its share of challenges.  Common health problems such as weight loss, immobility and insomnia can be very difficult to manage for the caregivers.

The good news is, aromatherapy, using good quality pure essential oils, is a safe, simple and effective tool for at home caregivers when used properly. These oils can stimulate appetite, energize and promote relaxation in elderly patients according to Barbara Bauer, registered dietician and Clinical Nutrition Program Manager at Sharp Coronado Hospital.

With the use of these oils, Bauer reports, many elderly patients in Nursing facilities, as well as in the home,  improve to the point of no longer needing to take appetite stimulants, and their sleep meds are being decreased.  Ms. Bauer has been employed at Sharp Coronado for 35 years and she has conducted a 2010 study linking aromatherapy and appetite stimulation that gained national attention.  

The following are 7 useful tips from Bauer for incorporating aromatherapy into the home for elder care:

  • Appetite stimulant: place 1 drop of Citrus Bliss*, bergamot or ginger essential oil with a cotton swab onto clothing or protective covering at meal time.  (During the 2010 study, staff applied citrus bliss* to patients’ coverings during 2 meals a day, most of the 50 patients tracked stopped losing weight, 6 out of 7 who were taking steroidal appetite stimulants transitioned off of the medication and maintained their weight.
  • To encourage alertness: put a drop of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and place nearby.  Especially during the mid-day slump, this is a good pick-me-up for everyone
  • Sleep assistance: place a few drops of Lavender oil on a cotton ball and slide inside the pillow case at bedtime. This induces relaxation and helps with stress. OR, you can run a bath at bedtime and sprinkle a few drops of lavender in the water to help promote relaxation
  • Use a diffuser or humidifier to disperse the oils by placing a few drops in the water. Depending on desired effect, this will allow the oils to be absorbed via inhalation.

 Essential oils are derived from nature and are chemical-free. Bauer states she has never see anyone have an allergic reaction from using the oils,  but some patients may not like the scent of some of the oils. She recommends you to allow your loved one to smell the oils before using any of them. She also warns not to use the oils on the skin as sometimes they can cause irritation.

Resource: Imperial Beach News

To read the full article, click HERE

 *To learn about or purchase “Citrus Bliss,” as noted above, click Here