Aromatherapy is the practice of using fragrant essential oils derived from medicinal plants, herbs, flowers, trees, and roots to help improve an individual’s emotional and physical well being. When these oils are inhaled or applied to a person’s skin, they can provide numerous benefits such as:
- Reducing anxiety and agitation
- Promoting relaxation
- Improving mood
- Helping with sleep quality
- Easing pain or discomfort
Aromatherapy helps seniors who are having a bad day or experiencing sundowners syndrome and is especially effective for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease when they start to feel anxious, uneasy, or agitated.
In fact, anyone in the vicinity – visitors, staff, healthcare workers, and physical therapists – reaps the same benefits when aromatherapy is administered!
Pacific Care Center uses aromatherapy in our Activity Room, away from distractions. To get the full effect, we dim the lights, turn on very soothing elevator-like music, and turn on our diffuser containing our essential oils. The diffuser directly emits calming oils such as lavender, rose, or chamomile into the air.
Then we bring in residents who may be feeling uneasy, and we close the doors. We talk very softly to them and start to lightly massage their calves, arms, shoulders, and neck. We usually do this for about 20 minutes. It usually takes only a few minutes for a resident to calm down and relax.
We have found that aromatherapy is very effective in helping our residents calm down and relax when they’re feeling depressed, agitated, or upset. So much so that it has become a regularly scheduled event at Pacific Care Center.