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
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
- 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.
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).
- $13 Be Peaceful Lavender And Eucalyptus Reed Diffuser
- $14 Ivenf Ceramic Tea Light Holder Aromatherapy Essential Oil Burner
- $20 URPOWER 2nd Version 100ml Essential Oil Diffuser Cool Mist Humidifier with Adjustable Mist, Waterless Auto Shut-off, 7 Color LED Lights
- $30 PureSpa Essential Oil Diffuser Compact Ultrasonic With Ionizer and Color-Changing Light
- $30 URPOWER 500ml Essential Oil Diffuser Humidifier with 4 Timer Settings, Color Changing Lamps, Waterless Auto Shut-off
- $40 VicTsing 300ml Wood Grain Cool Mist Humidifier Essential Oil Diffuser
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.
- $5 Aveeno Stress Relief Foaming Bath
- $6 Dr Teal’s Body and Bath Oil Soothe & Sleep with Lavender
- $7 Aura Cacia Shower Tablets Relaxing Lavender
- $14 Aromatherapaes De Stress Spa Shower Tablets
- $16 Organic Lavender Essential Oil Epsom and Dead Sea Bath Salts – Sleep Formula
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.
- $13 Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Lavender Chamomile Sleep Pillow Mist
- $15 Premium Aromatherapy Mist 100% All Natural & Organic Room & Body Mist, Lavender & Chamomile
- $15 Delightful Doze Pillow Spray
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.
- $14 FAMILIFE 12 Packs Lavender Scented Sachets
- $14 FAMILIFE 12 Packs Rose Scented Sachets
- $15 French Lavender Sachet – 12 Lavender Filled Sachets
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
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