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Adding Aromatherapy to Your Caregiver’s Toolbox

Posted on July 24, 2013 at 12:28 PM

Thanks to Registered Dietician, Barbara Bauer, Clinical Nutrition Program Manager at Sharp Coronado Hospital, SCS incorporates aromatherapy into our clients’ personal plan, especially for common health challenges in the elderly such as:                                                            - decreasing weight                                                                                                                           - immobility and,                                                                                                                           - sleeplessness

When used correctly, aromatherapy is a simple, non medical, effective tool for caregivers. At SCS we use aromatherapy to stimulate eating, energize and promote relaxation in our clients. We believe in this approach and thought we’d share the article that first sparked our interest. The following are excerpts from the article, Seven Ways To Use Aromatherapy To Care For The Elderly At Home.  Registered dietician Barbara Bauer, Clinical Nutrition Program Manager at Sharp Coronado Hospital offers the following seven tips in her commentary.                                                                                                                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Located in San Diego, Sharp Coronado Hospital and Villa Coronado Skilled Nursing Facility have documented many successful aromatherapy cases. Elderly patients improved to the point where they no longer required appetite stimulants and their sleep medications were decreased. This method gained national attention.

If you wish to include aromatherapy in your caregiver’s toolbox, Bauer suggests the following: “use quality essential oils which are modestly priced and long-lasting. To promote alertness, put a drop of peppermint oil on a cotton ball and place nearby. Peppermint is known for its energizing properties. To stimulate appetite, apply a dab of Citrus Bliss, cardamom, bergamot or ginger essential oil with a cotton swab onto clothing or protective covering at mealtime; near the nose. In Bauer’s 2010 study, staff applied Citrus Bliss to patients’ coverings during two meals each day, and most of the 50 patients tracked stopped losing weight. Six of the seven patients who were taking steroidal appetite stimulants transitioned off the medication, maintaining their weight without unpleasant side effects."

"Put a drop of lavender oil onto a cotton ball and place inside a pillow case at bedtime to encourage sleep. The scent of lavender induces relaxation, and many Sharp Coronado staff members place lavender behind their computers on particularly stressful days, Bauer said. Run a bath before bedtime and sprinkle a few drops of lavender oil into the water. Baby-care companies have been touting the relaxing effect of lavender-scented bath soap for decades, and the same principle applies to adults, " Bauer added.  

"Use a few drops of any essential oil — depending upon the desired effect — in a diffuser or humidifier. Mix essential oil with unscented lotion and massage onto the skin. Peppermint lotion will energize, lavender lotion will relax, and citrus lotion will stimulate appetite. Softer, more moisturized skin is an added benefit. Bauer recommends starting with one drop of oil per 4 ounces of lotion and adding from there. Burn a candle scented with the desired essential oil. Alternatively, place a candle (in a glass jar) onto an electric cup warmer. Bauer occasionally uses this option in her office, where open flames are not allowed. Essential oils are derived from nature and are chemical-free. Bauer has never seen a patient experience an allergic reaction to essential oils, she said. However, some patients may dislike the scent of certain oils, and she advises caretakers to let their loved ones smell the oils before use. She also warns that essential oils in their pure form shouldn’t be applied directly to the skin, as they have the potential to cause irritation.”

Seven Ways To Use Aromatherapy To Care For The Elderly At Home                                 Eagle & Times, News, July 12, 2012  

Categories: Caregiving

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