Dementia is a broad term used to incorporate a wide range of illnesses that cause a progressive decline in both cognitive and physical functioning, effecting a person’s memory, reasoning, thought processes and personality. It is the second leading cause of death in Australia and women make up 64.5% of all dementia deaths. In 2021 an estimated 472,000 Australians are living with dementia with around 250 people joining this population every day.
The benefits of aromatherapy for dementia sufferers have been well documented. It works by stimulating the part of the brain the regulates emotions, and studies using essential oils to improve symptoms of dementia patients have shown really positive results.
According to alzheimers.net there are several essential oils that can be of benefit to someone suffering from the symptoms of dementia. Lavender can help to calm irritability, anger and strong emotions, and aid restful sleep. Peppermint can energise the mind while calming the nerves and Rosemary is uplifting and well known for its memory stimulating and brain performance boosting properties. Bergamot is great for lifting mood and easing agitation, while Lemon Balm can be used to help improve memory and calm and relax people with anxiety. Ylang Ylang can also be used to reduce restlessness and sleeplessness and relieve depression. Any of these oils can be either used alone or blended together and put in a vaporiser and diffused throughout the room. Or it can be added to a carrier oil and used in a gentle massage or warm bath.
And let’s not forget all the wonderful carers, family members and support people out there helping dementia patients to live their best lives. Watching a loved one suffer is just as distressing as it is for the sufferer themselves, so use these oils to give yourselves a little TLC too. You’re doing great!