The virtues of essential oils with elderly people.
The accompaniment of elderly people has been set up at the city of Angers’ Comity of Fight against Pain/ Palliative Care due to the usage of essential oils. Essential oils aim for relaxation as a helping tool for caregivers in the accompaniment of people in Long Term Care facilities.
Why essential oils as a tool for health?
The coordinating doctor has initiated a global drug-free approach aiming to improve the conditions of elderly patient’s support. The diffusion of essential oils in personal rooms and shared spaces has demonstrated certain benefits for the patients: fights unpleasant odors, stimulates sensorial and mnemonic functions, maintains social connections, reduces anxiety, aggressiveness and sleeping disorders…
In order to fight against the negative image portrayed by unpleasing odors which isolates the elderly in their living space, the institution has had the will to promote a philosophy enabling the global support of the person.
The professionals thus have developed drug-free approaches, particularly highlighting the benefits of essential oils. Thanks to their deodorizing and relaxing properties, they have changed the ambience of the services, recreating social connections and a better self-image for the elderly person.
The application of essential oils in geriatrics:
First goal: fight against bad odors
After an investigation with the residents, their families and their caregivers, which highlighted a daily discomfort, a diffusion of essential oils in shared spaces has been established; it has allowed a significant improvement and a change in the ambience of life and care. This has been confirmed by questionnaires given to residents, family members and caregivers (results published in a previous article of magazine “Soins Gérontologie” #97 of September/October 2012).
These practices also aim to modify the care’s ambience with a positive effect for the caregivers, by placing them in a better emotional disposition towards the patients. The practices also contribute to the fight against the risk of exhaustion among the staff. The project requires however the entirety of the institution’s adhesion to this project, which is especially realized through the implication and the training of all the caregivers.
Second goal: diffusion in rooms as a therapy
The diffusion in personal rooms is suggested with a therapeutical goal in mind as well as an aim for a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere, especially during complex cares. The diffusion in the room has 2 main goals:
- Fighting against anxiety and apathy (especially in the morning after the cares)
- Diminish sleeping disorders and psycho-behavioral related problems
Some protocols (CHU of the city of Nice…) are being tested and consist of a mint and lemon or rosemary diffusion during the morning for 2 hours from 9am to 11am. Officinal lavender is diffused in the evening for 1 hour and 30 minutes before going to bed in order to ease sleep and to diminish anxiety.
The fact that we treat patients with aromatherapy has aroused many positive reactions. It especially evokes childhood memories and emotionality during the beginning of cares; patients say that they are not used to be taken care of. The scents can also evoke childhood memories such as the smell of candy, lollipops, Christmas, vacations, snacks…