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Image of several essential oils lined up next to each other, including lavender.

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

Essential oils are often used to ease symptoms of conditions like depression, anxiety, and insomnia. A growing number of holistic wellness experts are also harnessing benefits of essential oils to help improve the lives of older adults living 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. Because our sense of smell is strongly linked to emotional memory, essential oils can stimulate  specific areas of the brain responsible for the creation and storing of memories.

There are nearly 100 types of essential oils, 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. When used as a form of therapy and treatment for dementia, aromatherapy can help patients connect with memories that may have been lost. With that in mind, here are five of the best essential oils for dementia patients:

1. Lavender

Both popular and heavily researched, lavender has been shown to help reduce symptoms of  anxiety, depression, and insomnia — all of which are strongly associated with cognitive decline. Its scent is simultaneously calming and stimulating and it can be blended 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. It’s also used to combat stress and irritability.

3. Lemon Balm

Some folks grow this in their gardens to attract bees, but 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. Since dementia patients often need a little help calming their anxious minds, chamomile can be used  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, but it’s gaining popularity for its ability to comfort and uplift.

At The Moments, we take a holistic approach to wellness. We strongly believe in engaging all of  the senses — including the sense of smell —  when it comes to caring for our residents. We’ve seen the benefits of essential oils firsthand, and recommend that you give them a try if you’re caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

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

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