There are a number of ways in which essential oils can help with the elderly. Extra care does need to be taken though, as there may be contraindications with health conditions or medication, and the dilution of essential oils in a carrier oil must be lower. About one half of the recommended percentage for an adult should be used for the elderly.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
There has been research to support the use of essential oils for aiding with cognitive function, agitation, behavioral issues, aggressiveness, memory enhancement and mood. Essential oils such as rosemary, peppermint and lemon are known to enhance memory and alertness. Oils such as lavender, orange and ylang ylang are known for their sedative, calming and antidepressant properties. To increase alertness, I recommend oils such as rosemary, basil, peppermint and lemon.
Arthritis and Joint Pain
Anti-inflammatory and analgesic essential oils can aid with arthritis and muscle pain. These include the essential oils of ginger, rosemary, marjoram and roman chamomile.
Juniper berry is also used to remove the build up of excess fluid in the joints.
Sedative essential oils, such as lavender, clary sage and ylang ylang, are effective at lowering high blood pressure.
For poor circulation and Reynaud’s disease, the essential oils of peppermint and black pepper can be massaged into the area.
Varicose veins can be helped with a massage oil containing cypress, juniper, frankincense and lemon. The hydrosol of witch hazel is astringent and aids with reducing the swelling. Witch hazel is also effective for hemorrhoids.
The abdomen area can be massaged in a clockwise motion with a carrier oil, with the addition of the essential oils of orange, mandarin, ginger and chamomile.
Hair Loss (Alopecia)
The essential oil of rosemary is warming and increases blood flow to the area applied and is a strong stimulant. Studies have shown that rosemary, thyme, lavender and cedarwood essential oils to be an effective treatment.
Essential oils to aid with sleep and restlessness include lavender, Roman chamomile, neroli and mandarin. Lavender is a strong sedative and is soothing.
Stress, anxiety and depression can be helped with the use of essential oils. Citrus oils are natural antidepressants and are uplifting. These would include orange, bergamot, neroli, lemon and grapefruit. The essential oils of rose, clary sage, ylang ylang and lavender are also effective. Neroli and rose are also used for panic attacks.
Bronchitis, colds and influenza can be helped with essential oils with anti-viral, anti-bacterial, decongestant and expectorant properties. A few of the essential oils, which have proven effective, include eucalyptus, ravensara, peppermint, tea tree, lavender, rosemary and thyme. It’s best to use eucalyptus smithii for the elderly and children, as it is milder than the common eucalyptus globulus.
Cuts, scrapes and skin irritations can be aided with essential oils such as lavender, tea tree and chamomile. Their antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties make them great alternatives. For mature skin and wrinkles, the essential oils of carrot, frankincense, rose and rosemary contain antioxidants and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
Incontinence can be helped with the essential oil of cypress, which is an astringent and used when there is excess fluid.
Aromatherapy and essential oils are being researched and more recognized. Many aromatherapists are now working with hospital staff, hospices and cancer care centres, to ease the conditions affecting their patients.