Dementia has a wide range of symptoms that vary from person to person. Some people have anxiety and agitation, while others become increasingly forgetful or disturbed, especially at night.  An effective way of alleviating some of these symptoms is with aromatherapy. Aromatherapy uses pure essential oils, derived from plants, for their beneficial therapeutic actions.

Essential oils are used in a number of ways, in a massage oil or a cream applied to the skin, dispersed into the air with a diffuser or spray, or a few drops in a bath. Different essential oils have different benefits, and research has shown there are certain oils that are particularly beneficial for people with dementia.  

Blending different essential oils together amplifies their therapeutic qualities. Aromacare has worked in the aged care sector for more than 15 years and mastered blending different essential oils to produce blends shown to be effective in supporting people with dementia.  

Aromatherapy blends

Helpful oil blends for those with dementia include:

Relaxation Blend

This pure essential oil blend of Bergamot, Rose Geranium, Lavender, Petitgrain, Rosewood and Ylang Ylang is perfect for someone who is irritable or agitated. It soothes a person’s emotions inducing a relaxed state of being.

Calming Blend

Calming Blend’s essential oils of Lavender, Rosewood and Sandalwood are chosen for their quieting and grounding effects. These oils help lift depression, reduce anger and irritability and balance these strong emotions.

Harmony Blend

Pure essential oils of Bergamot, Lavender, Lemongrass, Lemon-scented Tea Tree have a calming effect on the nervous system and help reduce agitation and overactive thought patterns.   

Soothing Blend

People with dementia often become agitated by occurrences in their environment.  Bergamot, Geranium, Orange, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylangs have been blended to calm the senses and dampen the effect of noisy surroundings, soothing and quietening the mind.

Sunset Blend

Disorientation and confusion often visit people with dementia in the afternoon or early evening, they may become more demanding and anxious, at times hearing or seeing things that are not there. Using Aromacare’s Sunset blend of Chamomile (German & Roman), Lavender, Lime, Neroli, Rosewood in the diffuser early afternoon helps to dispel these behaviours. 

Sleep Well Blend

A blend of Roman Chamomile, Lavender and Sweet Marjoram pure essential oils are all known to promote sleep and this blend relaxes and calms the mind inviting sleep.

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Aromatherapy at home or in an aged care facility

Aromacare has found 2 of the best aromatherapy practices supporting people with dementia are: 

Weekly Massage

Giving people with dementia a regular massage can have a very calming effect. The physical contact creates emotional comfort, and helps them bond and feel comfortable with the person caring for them. It is particularly valuable in advanced dementia when conversation is limited. It doesn’t have to take long, 10-15 minutes with Lavender hand cream or Aromacare’s Relaxing or Calming massage oils is all that’s needed.

Using a Diffuser and an essential oil blend

Carers and family member can soothe people with dementia by using a diffuser with 6 – 8 drops of an essential oil blend such as Aromacare’s Sunrise, Sunset and Calming. What a diffuser does is help disperse the essential oils into the surrounding air. It’s simple and safe to use, and carers have reported that diffusing an essential oil blend using a diffuser improves the collective mood of people in shared communal areas.

Aromatherapy is a great therapy using essential oils and massage for people with dementia; simple and cost effective!  When paired with music to create a relaxed environment anxiety and agitation have been found to decrease, and improvements in speech, communication and concentration seen.

If you are interested in exploring essential oil blends or aromatherapy then a good place to start is Aromacare, they have tailored health care provider kits to support people with dementia and those receiving palliative care, as well as home packages for people with dementia and a full range of essential oils and blends, creams and massage oils.

Their client support team is always ready to answer your questions, just call (03) 9572 4791.

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