Seniors and Caregivers Improve Health and Mood with Aromatherapy Stress Relief

aromatherapy stress relief

Aromatherapy stress relief helps seniors and caregivers

Caring for an older adult is a tough job. It’s also difficult to be the person whose body or mind is declining.

Because of chronic stress, older adults and caregivers often suffer from decreased quality of life and increased physical and mental health problems. That’s why managing stress is so critical.

Aromatherapy, the use of essential oils from plants in therapeutic ways, is a safe stress reduction technique that’s equally helpful for seniors and caregivers. Scent has a powerful effect on the body and can be used to improve health and well-being.

 

How scents relieve stress

Smells can instantly trigger significant memories as well as affect the body’s nervous system.

When the nose smells something, the olfactory nerve is triggered. It signals the parts of the brain that control emotions, mood, and memory. These parts also control the autonomic nervous system, which is responsible for the fight-or-flight and relaxation responses. This explains why scents can cause physical reactions.

A research study even showed that lavender essential oil can have a calming effect similar to that of anti-anxiety medications. That’s powerful!

For example, when you step into a fancy spa and smell that soothing, pleasing scent, you start feeling calmer and more relaxed right away.

 

Benefits of aromatherapy for seniors and caregivers

Seniors and caregivers can benefit from aromatherapy in many ways, including:

  • Less stress
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved digestion (reduced constipation)
  • Reduced pain levels
  • Reduced anxiety and depression

For seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia, aromatherapy can reduce difficult behaviors that are caused by anxiety or discomfort.

 

Use aromatherapy at home

Aromatherapy is simple to put into practice. First, find some essential oil scents that you and your older adult enjoy. Then, experiment with different ways to scent the environment until you find some favorites.

Popular scents to relieve stress, calm, and soothe:

There are dozens of scents available, so don’t feel limited to this list. Whatever scents please you or your older adult will work just fine.

Common uses for essential oils:

  • Scented lotion
  • Bath oils / shower tablets
  • Room diffusers
  • Pillow spray
  • Sachets
  • Diffuser jewelry – using small clay beads to release scent

 

Where to buy aromatherapy supplies

Scented lotions and candles
Lotions and candles are probably the most commonly used forms of aromatherapy. You can find both scented lotions and candles almost anywhere, from drugstores to department stores. We especially like shopping for these at discount retailers like Target, Ross, and Marshalls.

Essential oils
If you’re going to use a diffuser, you’ll need some oil to put inside. You can find essential oils (pure and blends) at online retailers and local natural foods stores. Major stores include Amazon (see options here) and Whole Foods.

Essential oil diffusers
Diffusers help the scent of the essential oil spread throughout a room. Simpler versions use reeds and others are more like scented humidifiers (tip: don’t put essential oils in a regular humidifier, it will get clogged).

Some options:

Another option is to make your own reed diffuser – these instructions are helpful.

Bath salts and shower tablets
Creating a spa-like environment is a wonderful way to encourage your older adult to bathe. It’s also a great way for you to unwind after a long day.

Some options:

Pillow spray
Spraying a light scent (like lavender) onto the pillow or in the sheets often helps people relax and makes it easier to drift off to sleep.

Some options:

Sachets
These scented pouches are great for adding to a bedside table or next to a favorite chair. They’re also simple to make at home.

Some options:

Another option is to make your own scented sachets – we liked these instructions for simple sachets and coffee-filter sachets.

 

Bottom line

The possibilities are endless when it comes to aromatherapy. Experiment with different scents and different ways of scenting the room. Soon, you’ll find what works best for your older adult and for you.

 

You might also like:
Stress Relief for Caregivers: Free App Helps You Relax in 2 Minutes – Calm.com
6 Alzheimer’s Sensory Activities Reduce Anxiety without Medication
How to Relieve Caregiver Stress: 4 Tips from Navy SEALs

 

By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Presbyterian Manors

 

This article wasn’t sponsored, but does contain affiliate links. We never link to products for the sole purpose of making a commission. Product recommendations are based on our honest opinions. For more information, see How We Make Money.

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