Complementary Therapy

Aromatherapy and Dementia

There are just a few small scale research studies that have explored the use of aromatherapy as treatment for some of the unpleasant symptoms of agitation and distress that some people with dementia experience.   Most notably the use of melissa  (lemon balm)  to ease agitation and the properties of lavender to promote sleep have been…

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Make Up and Dementia: Using Cosmetics Therapeutically

Fascinating research has been reported from Japan on the use of cosmetic therapy where participants have been taught how to apply make up.  One academic study indicates that  it might slow down cognitive decline for women with dementia in its early stages.  While this research failed to demonstrate a positive effect for women in the later stages of dementia another project indicates that it could be beneficial.   Residents…

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Hand Massage: Accessible Touch Therapy for People with Dementia

Massage therapy has the capacity for relieving stress and  providing positive sensory input and expressive human touch.   As such it can be used to relieve agitation and distress for people with dementia at the earliest through to the most advanced stages of the disease.  Its use can promote well being and  prevent some of the difficult behaviours that originate from  troubled states of mind. …

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Doll Therapy and Dementia

I was drawn to becoming an occupational therapist so that I could help people explore meaning in their life.  What that entails varies across their lifespan.  For what is meaningful to a person changes over time. It’s  dependent on lots of things: the different roles that they adopt,  their culture  and belief system,  the state of their physical and…

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The Toolbox

There is an absence of research evidence for many practices that may improve the lives of people with dementia.    When I first began to work in older adult mental health care there was a lot of excitement around the potential that aromatherapy might have for relieving agitation and distress and improving cognition and  mood.  …

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