Tips for Using Essential Oils for Eldercare

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There are many resources available across the internet about using essential oils for kids, but not many people are talking about the other end of our life cycle. Using essential oils in eldercare.

While it may not be at the top of your mind during your initial essential oil resource searching, as we age, essential oils continue to provide substantial support for your elder loved one's physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Using Essential Oils To Support The Emotional Wellbeing of Elders

One of the biggest challenges with aging is the decrease in social support and connection. Watching friends move away to live with their adult children, be placed into assisted, or pass away brings a sobering awakening to our own mortality. This is magnified if you or your loved one has had a spouse pass away, or if there is no local support from other family members.

One common theme: the time for bonding and enjoying social connections decreases dramatically.

** PLEASE NOTE ** Don't be fooled by clever marketing. Not all essential oils are created equally. Make sure you're not wasting your money on fake or altered essential oils (even if they're labeled as “pure essential oil”). Don't miss our explosive report outlining the dirty little secrets of the essential oil industry to ensure you're not wasting your money on brands of oils that legally mislead you through deceitful marketing practices.

Using Essential Oils To Support The Physical Wellbeing of Elders

While aging, bodies need more attention and care. Using essential oils may provide a range of physical wellness benefits to aid you or your loved one through that unknown life phase.

The most important use of essential oils is to replace products containing harmful ingredients. Using products filled with fragrances and aggressive chemicals may contribute to various health and cognitive problems, especially among the elderly.

Digestion Support for Elderly Loved Ones

The digestive system seems to struggle a bit more as we age than when we are young. Ginger essential oil is fantastic for helping aid the digestive process, just as the herb does.

Peppermint essential oil is a great option too, but it is often a bit aggressive for topically applying to aging skin, and needs to be diluted in larger amounts to prevent causing discomfort. Ginger is a much better option because of this. Peppermint would be better diffused.

If ginger is too strong of a scent, cardamom essential oil is a great alternative.

To apply ginger or cardamom, dilute one drop to 5ml of carrier oil, and gently massage it over your loved one's belly.

A carrier oil can be any cold-pressed, seed-based oil (ideally organic and unrefined). This includes most cooking oil, like coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil. Personally, we LOVE using sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, and the V6 Carrier oil (made by Young Living). This is the best way to dilute your essential oils for topical use.

Circulatory Support for Elderly Loved Ones

Many senior citizens are bedridden or wheelchair-bound, causing sore spots and discomfort that may be alleviated through gentle aromatherapy massage to soothe sore muscles and improve circulation.

Essential oils that aid in circulation support include black pepper, cypress, eucalyptus, and valerian.

I recommend staying with the more gentle oils for elder individuals. Gentle circulation supporting oils include cypress and valerian. Cypress is my favorite because it helps strengthen blood vessel walls (and can also be used over their bladder to help strengthen the bladder).

Combatting Inflammation In Elderly Loved Ones

inflamed joints are common problems for many seniors. Essential oils like black spruce, ginger, eucalyptus, frankincense, juniper, myrrh, peppermint, Roman chamomile, rosemary, and thyme may be used to help ease painful joints.

Lymph Node Support For Elderly Loved Ones

Along with poor circulation, fluid buildup and swelling are common complaints among seniors, causing pain, stiffness, numbness, and general discomfort.

Cypress, sage, and sandalwood essential oils may be diluted and used as a massage oil on the places that are most prone to uncomfortable swelling, helping to remove excess fluid and promoting better lymph node circulation.

Respiratory Support for Elderly Loved Ones

Seniors are at a much higher risk of developing colds, coughs, and other ailments. Essential oils like eucalyptus (radiata), lavender, peppermint, rosemary, spearmint, and thyme are soothing to the respiratory tract, and aid in immune functioning.

Supporting Cognitive Functioning for Elderly Loved Ones

With a growing database of essential oil research, some studies have shown aromatherapy can have a variety of cognitive and mental benefits.

In addition to the numerous therapeutic benefits essential oils provide, studies have also shown that sensory stimulation for people with Alzheimer’s may decrease agitation, improve sleep, and improve the overall quality of life for those living with the disease.

7 Essential Oils for Eldercare To Help Those Living with Dementia

Essential oils that have been shown to be effective in treating and controlling different symptoms of dementia include bergamot, lavender, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, and ylang ylang essential oils.

Bergamot may be emotionally calming, ease agitation, improve sleep quality, and improve the mind's ability to handle stress. To use bergamot oil, place a few drops in a cup of Epsom salts or magnesium flakes to add to a warm bath, dilute and use as a massage oil, diffuse through a room, or spray on clothing or linens.

Lavender has a calming aroma, helping those smelling it to balance strong emotions. It has also been used to help with low moods, anger, and irritability, and may also help increase sleep quality.

Lemon oil may help calm and relax people dealing with nervous tension: moodiness, sleep disturbances, improved memory, and ease of digestion.

Peppermint is an energizing oil that may be used to stimulate minds and calm nerves, simultaneously. Peppermint oil is best used in the morning, peppermint oil can be inhaled directly, diffused in a room, used as a massage oil, sprayed in the air, or even placed in a bath. **WARNING** DO NOT use peppermint essential oil in the evenings because it will cause trouble with going to sleep.

Rosemary is an uplifting essential oil used to stimulate the mind and body, like peppermint. It may even improve cognitive performance and mood. Rosemary has also been known to ease constipation, moodiness, memory, and also reinvigorate the appetite. Rosemary oil can be directly inhaled, diffused through a room, or used as a spray.

Ylang Ylang oil helps ease moods while also promoting good sleep, which is a great oil not only for a person living with Alzheimer’s but also for caregivers struggling with restlessness and lack of sleep. Ylang Ylang is often combined with lemon oil and can be placed in a bath, inhaled, diffused, or sprayed.

Supporting Elderly Emotional Well-Being

Lemon balm, sweet orange, grapefruit, and neroli are citrus oils that help to lighten moods, encourage togetherness, and support cognitive functioning. Most citrus oils have similar properties, giving you the space to choose which ones you enjoy the most, or use a premade essential oil blend containing several different citrus oils, like Citrus Fresh (you can find it here).

These oils have natural mood-lifting properties and can also help soothe moments of panic. In addition, citrus oils are able to invigorate the senses and promote general feelings of happiness and well-being.

Using Essential Oils To Support Bonding and Togetherness

Family bonding is important to the mental wellness of everyone involved, especially for the elderly who are already feeling isolated, forgotten, and insecure. Using essential oils help to calm their senses and improve their feelings of togetherness and bonding with you, creating a more positive experience.

  • Spend some time with your elderly loved one and enjoy a pleasant, quiet day while diffusing essential oils. An oil diffuser is an excellent way to enjoy the many beautiful scents of essential oils as you read a book, put a puzzle together, or enjoy an excellent conversation.
  • Use diluted essential oils or pre-made massage oil to give your elderly loved one a gentle massage to relax their muscles.
  • Start a herb or flower garden together for some family bonding time. 

Support Your Elderly Loved One's Sleep Using Essential Oils

Sleep disruptions are often caused by stress. Aromatherapy oils may help to lower stress levels and calm anxiousness, as does spending time together and talking about life’s joys will help improve stress levels. When you use aromatherapy while spending quality time together, the aroma from the essential oils helps create more fond memories that your loved one will enjoy reflecting on when you're not there. If you're loved one is suffering from Alzheimer's, they will still remember the feeling they had associated with your time together, which will still be calming, even if they can't consciously remember why.

Like lavender and marjoram, many essential oils may help your loved one fall asleep and experience better sleep quality and duration. Spending time together and bonding will also help since people who tend to be closer to loved ones feel more comfortable, improving sleeping habits. 

Supporting Aging Skin of Elderly Loved Ones

Seniors suffer from a wide range of skin conditions, from cuts and scrapes to skin irritation and wrinkles. If you get a cut or a scrape, using oil like lavender, helichrysum, or chamomile has qualities that help support faster healing.

  • Helichrysum Essential Oil has therapeutic properties that fight free radicals and support the skin, liver, and nervous system. It is also an excellent oil for first aid, helping with cuts.
  • Frankincense Essential Oil works to support healthy skin cells and has astringent properties. It’s an excellent choice for improving overall skin tone and all of the fun things of aging.
  • Lavender Essential Oil has many uses. It’s also one of the few essential oils that you can safely apply undiluted directly to the skin, and it works well for all skin types. It is excellent for irritations and is balanced for the skin.
  • Sandalwood Essential Oil is excellent for moisturizing dry skin.
  • Rose Essential Oil is a critical ingredient in many anti-aging and moisturizing oil products and helps support aging skin.

Recap On The 22 Essential Oils That Benefit The Elderly The Most

  1. Bergamot oil – is mentally uplifting (primarily when feeling grief and sorrow) and supports immune functioning, digestion, sleep, nervous tension, and skin wellness. It may also help with responding to stress.
  2. Black Pepper essential oilhelps with inflammation, digestion, and nerve functioning.
  3. Cardamom essential oil – supports a healthy immune system, digestion, and circulation. It also improves mental fatigue and clears confusion.
  4. Cypress essential oil – serves as a deodorant and strengthens the urinary system. It's also known to help support the liver, skin, and cardiovascular functioning and eases the feeling of loss. Cypress also helps to soothe emotions and encourages a sense of security.
  5. Eucalyptus (Radiata) essential oil – supports respiratory functioning, inflammation, and the immune system.
  6. Frankincense essential oil – helps improve moods and supports immunity, brain functioning, spirituality, nerve functioning, and skin health.
  7. Geranium essential oil – helps to deter bugs, is mentally relaxing, supports the skin, helps with inflammation, improves blood flow, livens up pale skin, and helps support the liver.
  8. Ginger essential oil – digestive support, inflammation, and immune response. It may also help with increasing emotional courage.
  9. Grapefruit essential oil – supports the liver, uplifts the mind, and helps reduce mental tension.
  10. Helichrysum essential oil – supports immune functioning, skin health, detoxification, lymph drainage, respiratory functioning, and varicose veins.
  11. Juniper essential oil – helps support the liver, mind, skin, kidneys, muscles, nerves, digestive tract, and emotions. It also helps to encourage feelings of love and peace.
  12. Lavender essential oil – is relaxing, supports skin health, calms the mind, and assists with cardiovascular, nervous, and emotional wellbeing.
  13. Lemon oil – is uplifting and helps support digestive, respiratory, and immune functioning.
  14. Marjoram essential oil – historically used for soothing muscle spasms, marjoram also helps with immune support, cognitive support, respiratory support, circulatory support, and emotional tension.
  15. Neroli essential oil – may support the digestive tract, reduce stress tension, relax the mind, and encourage confidence, peacefulness, and courage.
  16. Orange oil – calming and supports digestive and immune functioning
  17. Peppermint essential oil – immune support, cognitive help, respiratory support, and digestive support
  18. Roman Chamomile essential oil – helps balance emotions, calms and relaxes the mind, and supports the nervous system and skin health.
  19. Rose essential oil – elevates the mind and supports the skin
  20. Rosemary essential oil – improves cognitive functioning and memory. It also may help support the body's immune, respiratory, and nerve functioning.
  21. Sandalwood essential oil – similar to frankincense, sandalwood oil supports circulation, emotions, the nervous system, and skin health. It may also help with supporting joint cartilage and the lymph nodes.
  22. Thyme essential oil – a heavy-hitting immune supporting oil that also helps with increasing concentration, improving moods, and relieving mental tension.
  23. Valerian essential oil helps release mental tension and anxiousness, improve sleep quality, decrease restlessness, promote peacefulness, and calm the nervous system.
  24. Ylang Ylang essential oil – helps mellow moods, stimulates the adrenal glands, reduces anger, improves self-esteem, and may inspire peaceful feelings and confidence.

You don't need ALL of these essential oils to care for an elderly loved one successfully, but keeping a few of them on hand is very helpful. If I had to choose 5 to keep, a citrus oil (bergamot, orange, or lemon), frankincense, geranium, helichrysum, marjoram, and ranvintsara would be at the top of the list.

Where to Buy High-Quality Essential Oils

Don't be fooled into purchasing substandard, fake, or counterfeit essential oils using clever marketing and loose labeling laws. Be sure you know about the 10 Dirty Little Secrets of the essential oil industry so you can make the best choice for your needs for in-depth information about why quality matters, how not to be fooled, and what to look for

Warning: DO NOT purchase your oils through Amazon, eBay, Walmart, or similar websites with 3rd party sellers! Many of those oils are counterfeit and may cause health ailments, skin reactions, headaches, and a lot of misery. Most reputable essential oil brands do not allow their oils to be purchased there, so when you do find them (even if the seller appears to be legitimate), they're often fake.

If you're ready to start your essential oil journey, this is our favorite place to purchase from because of their transparency and dedication to doing what is right for their customers and not compromising on their integrity to provide industry-setting quality standards throughout all their products.

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using essential oils in eldercare