How to get started with Aromatherapy for Seniors

How to get started with Aromatherapy for Seniors

Found In: Activities Aromatherapy

The basics of aromatherapy for the elderly: what you will need, recommend use and sample recipes.
This is one of many free activities.
Golden Carers has 1000s of activities and resources for senior care.

Scent is linked to emotion and memory. It may unlock hidden memories, relieve stress, alleviate minor health problems and trigger buried emotions.

There are various types of Aromatherapy but the most popular is 'Massage Aromatherapy'.

Massage Aromatherapy

In massage aromatherapy we add highly concentrated plant derivatives called essential oils to a base or carrier oil such as sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil or sunflower oil.

Shake the blend before applying to the skin via massage.

If your facility does not have an Aromatherapist you can request management to hire one for a day for an 'Aromatherapy In-Service'.

It is important for activity staff to know the basics as there can be contraindications with the use of some essential oils.

Safety Factors to Consider

  • Do not take essential oils internally
  • People with high blood pressure should be kept away from: rosemary, hyssop, thyme and sage.
  • Broken skin should not be massaged.
  • Do not use undiluted essential oils on skin.
  • Keep essential oils out of the reach of Children.
  • Always consult clinical staff before using aromatherapy blends with residents

Essential oils should be of the highest quality, 100% pure and if possible organic. Read the labels carefully before buying products. Make sure they haven't already been diluted.

Types of carrier oils: almond oil, jojoba oil, safflower oil, apricot kernel oil, soya bean oil, grapeseed oil, macadamia oil.

How to Mix a Blend for Relaxation Massage

  1. Buy a dark bottle (amber) with a pump from a chemist
  2. Using a funnel, pour 400 mls of a carrier oil into the bottle
  3. Add 30 drops of Bergamot; 30 drops of Clary Sage; 30 drops of Frankincense; 30 drops of Neroli.
  4. Shake and apply.

To add fragrance to cold cream and moisturizers, add 20 drops of essential oil for every 100mls of cream.

How to store your Essential Oils

  • Protect from heat and light.
  • Keep at temperature below 30 C / 86 F.
  • Keep away from naked flames.
  • Use within 6 to 12 months.

Consult senior staff before massaging your clients. Make sure you have the resident’s consent for massaging. If they are not able to give consent; a relative or guardian may do so.

Save time with 1000's of meaningful
activity ideas for every occasion.

Enter your email address to collect your free activities.

✓ 100% Privacy ✓ No Spam

Comments   Post a Comment

Cheryl 18th May 2021 Activities Assistant
Yes, there are contraindications and there are three things that should be done:
1) Check each E.O. for contraindications with each resident's meds.
2)Know the E.O. effects thoroughly.
3) Check allergy to the blend (not the E.O. neat) on the inside of the elbow.

There is no one E.O. fits all but typically the safest is Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia), not Lavendin ( Lavandula intermedia). The first has the most medicinal constituents (ie relaxation) whereas Lavandin is actually a stimulant.
Susan 18th May 2021 Activity Director
Hi Cheryl
Thank you for this information
Gayle 1st Apr 2017 Activities Coordinator
I too am studying this area in my spare time. What I find worrying is that this seems to be a new fad in holistic care especially residential setting with older people. My worry is that there are serious implications which may complicate health conditions such as 'juniper' is suggested for urine infections, yet it is also suggested that people with kidney issues and older people should not use it. Grapefruit is another issue for people with heart conditions.

There is however a great opportunity to discuss the potential to bringing in holistic herbalists fully into health & social care network alongside OT's, psychologists who have themselves started their own professions on theoretical & user-based evidence.

Ruth 13th Apr 2015 Recreational Therapist
i have just completed cert iv aromatherapy and i did it through
the australian institute of applied sciences. i did it online or you can do at the campus in brisbane or sydney. its a very full on course not for the weak hearted but very good to teach what you need to know.
Kate 12th Aug 2014 leisure&Lifestyle assistant
Hi Solonge can you recommend an Aromatherapy course. I am interested in this area but would need to know a lot more. kate
Solange 12th Aug 2014 Diversional Therapist
Hi Kate, I did my Aromatherapy course 14 years ago and unfortunately the college no longer exists. It was a private college and I did it in two years at the cost of $1600 ($800 per year).
I don't know if things have changed since then, but at the time I was very disappointed that the course did not make an iota of difference to my hourly rates. It remained the same although I got a few more hours to do it.
I believe that you can do it at TAFE College all over Australia these days and of course there are many private colleges offering it.
It is worth asking your manager if your hourly rate would improve and if not if the facility can help you with the cost.
I hope this can you you.
Lorraine 7th Nov 2013 Lifestyle Coordinator
Where is the best place to buy these oils and do they come with MSDS
Our OHS is very strict
solange 9th Nov 2013
Hi Lorraine, there are various companies online which sells essential oils and also the 'carrier' oil (to mix with essential oils). I used to buy mine from a company called Look online for more companies.
Helen 17th Mar 2013 Diversional Therapist
I use this a lot with Hospital residents who are very ill or depressed, they respond in such a positive way, even nursing staff, visitors, doctors who are in the building including residents are attracted to this activity simply because it puts a lovely aroma in the building where I am working with the residents. Helen
Sandra 8th Sep 2012 AIN/ Rec officer
I burn Lavender and Lemon essential oil in the entrance of our unit as it has a claming effect on anyone who enters, great for sundowning as well. Creams I make are childs mild blend to improve skin integrity and relaxation.
Carmel 24th May 2010 Co-Ordinater
Aromatherapy is one of the best therapeutic treatments that have great effects working in the community and with the aged the results are excellent. This article is a great reminder to watch out for contra-indicaters before application especially for those who are just starting out.
Pamela 7th Feb 2010 Lifestyle Coordinator
As a new RAO this is excellent information for me to understand some of the dos and don'ts. I find that this is one area that can be harmful to the residents if you are not careful and this article gives me some great guidelines
No Avatar