Aromatherapy and the Behaviors of Dementia

There is nothing more difficult than trying to calm the behaviors that moderate to end stage Alzheimer’s exhibit. Long-term care facilities have been working with person-centered care to meet the needs of the residents. After determining the origin of the behavior, aromatherapy works as a safe and gentle modality that is calming. Lavender oil has a chemical component – linalol – that is calming to the central nervous system. It is considered a very safe and effective oil to use with those who have dementia.

Besides being safe for the resident – Lavender is also safe for staff and visitors. It serves a secondary benefit to staff as it reduces symptoms of stress.

The program that is being instituted at The Alois Alzheimer Center encompasses general diffusion in the common areas. The oil blend to be diffused is equal parts of Lavender and Pink Grapefruit. The Lavender is calming and the Pink Grapefruit is emotionally up-lifting. Again, the staff benefits from these oils being diffused during the day.

Second phase of the program is a study of aromatherapy and sleep. Insomnia is a chronic problem for those with dementia. This study will use small room diffusers in the rooms of residents selected to participate. In the evening, a few drops of Lavender will be put on the felt pad that is slipped into the diffuser ball. Lavender is very effective for insomnia.
Then in the morning the Lavender felt pad will be replaced with a felt pad that has a few drops of Pink Grapefruit. This scent should gently wake up the resident.
Data on sleep is already collected by nursing. So there are no extra steps to record data for this study. Any insomnia or other night time disturbances will be noted. The study will last for eight weeks.

Final phase of the aromatherapy program will be custom blends to help residents with difficult behaviors calm down. I will put the custom blends together after looking at the resident’s chart and noting history, present and past diagnoses, allergies, and medications. This is to insure that the oils are not contraindicated for that resident.

Aromatherapy is a safe and gentle modality that can improve the resident’s quality of life.

(The aromatherapy program for The Alois Alzheimer Center is funded by The Alois Alzheimer Foundation, a 501(c)3 program wholly owned & operated by The Alois Alzheimer Center. This is part of the Alois Foundation’s mission to responsible research.)

Patricia Faust, MGS, CAt
Gerontologist/Brain Health Specialist
Certified Clinical Aromatherapy
513-382-3947
patricia@myboomerbrian.com
http://www.myboomerbrain.com

pcf consulting is the umbrella company over MyBoomerBrain.com
Speaking, teaching, coaching and consulting about brain aging, brain health and brain function form the bulk of the work under myboomerbrain.com
I am a preferred vendor for Best Upon Request for Eldercare Resource Services from North Dayton, Cincinnati to Northern Kentucky.
Consulting and coaching comprise my work with financial professionals concerning their aging clients.
As a certified clinical aromatherapist I consult to long-term care about solutions for the behaviors of dementia.

I Know Spring is Coming…I Just Wish it Would Get Here Already!

How difficult it is to be a caregiver when poor weather has you and your loved one stuck inside for a prolonged period of time. Spring can’t come soon enough. Nice weather would allow you to get outside even if it’s just for a walk. Time always passes more quickly with something to look forward to. In the movie Field of Dreams it was said “if you build it they will come.” This applies to visits too, if you plan it they will come. Keep in mind that it is also difficult to be the visitor – it’s hard to know what to talk about or how to pass the time during a visit. It’s even hard to know long you are expected or should stay.

If you let your guests know ahead of time that you’ve planned something special it makes for a positive experience. It makes them look forward to future visits which will help encourage them to come again.

Here is an indoor winter idea:

1. Plan a winter themed snack. Begin by having a discussion with your client/loved one to determine whom he/she would like to ask (children, grand-children, friends). Limit the number of guests to 3-4 people so it doesn’t become overwhelming and be specific about arrival and departure times. Arrange for a daylight visit to eliminate any chance of sun downing. Set the date and invite your guests.
2. Consider your menu. How enjoyable to have hot cocoa with mini-marshmallows and a vanilla “snowman” cake. This could be made from a boxed mix – baked in three sizes of aluminum circle tins, pre-made white icing and coconut flakes. Each step to assemble is a wonderful activity in itself. It isn’t only children who enjoy a fun cake.
3. Create a shopping list. When you go to the market have your loved one/client refer back to the list and check off each item as it is placed in the cart.
4. Bake the cake one day in advance. Give it time to cool before assembling. Both of you can frost the cake as well as apply the coconut flakes.
5. The next day set the table. When your guests arrive you can discuss the weather, how cold it is, the snow outside and, how nice to have a snowman that won’t melt.
6. If you have “Alexa” or any other musical device program it to play winter related songs.

Here is an outdoor spring idea for when it has finally become nicer:

1. Plan a picnic. Listen to the weather reports and together select the nicest day. Write the date on your calendar and discuss it often as the chosen day nears.
2. If you want, ask 1-2 friends or family members to join you. If they are coming be specific as to arrival and departure times.
3. Discuss what you would like to eat – simple sandwiches, cookies, juice, fruit. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. It’s the planning, interaction and decision making that is important.
4. Make a list and go to the market. Check off each item as it is placed in the cart.
5. The morning of your picnic, together prepare and pack the food items.
6. Discuss then select the appropriate clothing. Limit choices so it’s not confusing.
7. Go outside and sit on a folding chair in the back yard. You don’t have to go far for a change of scenery.

Judith A. Levy, EdM, OTR, is the author of “Activities to Do with Your Parent Who Has Alzheimer’s Dementia” (Amazon). A graduate of Boston University’s Sargent College with a degree in Occupational Therapy, she also received a Master’s Degree in Allied Health Education from Rutgers University. Mrs. Levy was a practicing occupational therapist specializing in adult rehabilitation for over forty years. For ten years she was the caregiver for her mother who suffered with Alzheimer’s Dementia.

Interested in Participating in a Short Survey about Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease?

We have been asked by a student to assist him with a case study for one of his classes. His focus is the topic of early onset Alzheimer’s disease as that is what his Aunt was affected by. We decided to open this through our blog in hopes that some of you might want to take the survey. It is short, about 10 questions.

This survey will be used for an AP Research project based on early/young-onset Alzheimer’s. The project will look into the diagnosing and caretaking of early/young-onset Alzheimer’s patients in the United States and if they should receive more government funding. The answers submitted on this survey will be used as completely confidential and the respondent’s privacy will be upheld. Please answer all questions honestly so this survey can be used as accurate data.

Please click on this link to take the survey:

<a href="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfmUJjP2-zffcyvB2zO9KwL1zntpGjLr9SO4iX71HKF6j70iw/viewform?

It’s Nearly Impossible to Diagnose Alzheimer’s Disease in Living People. Bill Gates Wants to Change That

Bill Gates, who decided to invest $100 million in Alzheimer’s disease research in 2017 and revealed earlier this year that his father was affected by the disease, is now directing some of that commitment to developing a diagnostic test. Such a test would help the 14 million people expected to be affected by the brain disorder in the U.S. by 2050 with the chance to come to terms with their condition, and perhaps, if new treatments are developed, even take advantage of these therapies as early as possible.

Gates announced that he is committing more than $30 million to the Diagnostics Accelerator, a project with the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), that will focus on creating new strategies for diagnosing the disease. Gates is joined by Leonard Lauder, co-founder of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discover Foundation, the Dolby Family and the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation among others in the effort.

To read the full article go to: http://time.com/5341036/bill-gates-alzheimers-disease-research/