5 of the Best Essential Oils for Dementia

Experts are hopeful that a cure for Alzheimer’s and dementia is on the horizon. We see significant development in treatments that may delay or slow the onset of symptoms for these disorders. Some of these treatments lean heavily on prescription drugs, many of which are still in the early phases of clinical trials. However, there are other treatment options, including the use of essential oils, that are more holistic.

Many people worldwide use essential oils to ease symptoms of conditions like depression, anxiety, and insomnia. A growing number of holistic wellness experts are also harnessing benefits of essential oils for dementia patients. These experts believe that essential oils can help improve the lives of those with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

What exactly are essential oils? They’re natural, highly concentrated compounds sourced from various plants. They can be diffused in the air and inhaled or applied topically to the skin.

The human sense of smell has a strong link with emotional memory. This means that essential oils can be an effective way of sparking memories. When we catch a familiar aroma, our bodies and brains work together to pull up related moments from the past.

Nearly 100 types of essential oils exist, each with its own unique scent and potential health benefits. Read on to learn about the best essential oils for dementia patients.

Essential Oils for Dementia: The Healing Power of Smell

Essential oils can be powerful tools. They can even be used as a form of therapy and treatment for dementia. Aromatherapy can help patients connect with memories that you may have thought to be lost. How does this work scientifically?

Essential oils are made of complex fragrance molecules. When we inhale their scent, millions of receptors within our noses send signals to the limbic area of the brain. These scent receptor messages then travel throughout the brain, activating thoughts, memories, and even physical responses.

For these reasons, aromatherapy can reach to the soul. This makes it such an exciting tool for memory care! Be sure to keep safety first by following all recommendations. With that in mind, here are five of the best essential oils for dementia patients:

A senior’s hands opening a bottle of essential oil.

1. Lavender

Both popular and heavily researched, lavender has been shown to help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Each of these symptoms are strongly associated with cognitive decline. Its scent is simultaneously calming and stimulating and it blends well with many other essential oils.

2. Peppermint

Who doesn’t love the invigorating scent of peppermint? Numerous studies indicate that peppermint has mood-elevating properties that may help relieve feelings of sadness. Many people also use peppermint to combat stress and irritability.

3. Lemon Balm

Some folks grow this in their gardens to attract bees, but that’s not the only use for lemon balm! Lemon balm has a wide variety of uses that extend beyond the boundaries of horticulture. Its calming fragrance makes it popular with caregivers, and one study showed that this herb may help with indigestion.

4. Chamomile

Chamomile has a calming scent. Dementia patients often need a little help calming their anxious minds, so this medicinal herb is a great choice. Chamomile is perfect in diffusers just before bedtime. Other benefits may include pain relief and improved digestion.

5. Bergamot

The sweet, spicy and soothing scent of bergamot isn’t as well-known as other essential oils. However, bergamot is gaining popularity for its ability to comfort and uplift. This essential oil may even have a pain relief effect!

Aromatherapy for Dementia

At The Moments, we take a holistic approach to wellness. We strongly believe in engaging each sense — including the sense of smell — in providing care for our residents. We’ve seen the benefits of essential oils for the elderly firsthand.

We recommend that you give oils a try if you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Positive outcomes are not a guarantee, but they’re a low-risk tool that may have a wonderful effect. And best case scenario, they may uplift your mood, too!

Scent is also a wonderful opportunity for conversation. You can ask your loved one what aromas they prefer, or what their favorite fragrance was when they were young.

Visit us to learn more about other ways we engage our residents’ sense of smell. We engage all senses to improve their quality of life every day.

Published On: August 1, 2022