5 Tips to Helping Loved Ones with Dementia Enjoy the Holidays

A few years ago I wrote an article about the ‘5 tips to helping loved ones with dementia enjoy the holidays’ for Chicago’s Daily Herald.

This year I figured I’d do a reboot!

Spending time together as a family, especially around the holidays, is priceless. Yet, this can be a challenging season for individuals with Alzheimer's disease, or memory care needs, and their loved ones, but a little preparation can make a big difference! Here are 5 easy, hands-on techniques you can use to enjoy this holiday season together.

 

Tip #1

Bring a family pet along! This provides a wonderful connection to someone who may not always be able to fully communicate. Furry friends also assist as conversation starters. If a real-life pet is not an option, check out our Companion Pets.

 

Tip #2

During visits, provide your loved one with an object they can hold to reduce confusion and fear. This can rewire the brain to form new connections and helps ground the person in...

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What Is Aromatherapy and How Can You Leverage It

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the inhalation of essential oils to receive limbic support. When you inhale an oil, it travels through your nose, into the olfactory system, and works its way into the limbic system. The limbic system houses your memories and emotions. After you inhale an aroma, your limbic system produces an emotional response, a combination of your previous experiences and the oils specific benefits. For example, if you have fond memories of running around in lavender fields as a child, then inhaling lavender essential oil will elicit happiness and joy for you. In that same aspect, \lavender essential oil is high in linalool, a monoterpene, known for its calming effects. This experience would likely make you feel happy and calm when inhaling lavender.

 

How to use Aromatherapy

When deciding to use aromatherapy you have a few options of what you can do:

  1. Pour a drop of essential oil into your hands, rub your hands together, then cup your face, and take in...
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How Cedarwood Essential Oil Changed My Family and Career After My Son's ADHD Diagnosis

Today I'm [Jessica Ryan] sharing my story of what led me to educating and advocating on essential oils. I will tell you what I've learned through studying brain health and essential oils. Essential oils and brain health were two topics I never knew would influence my life so much. Yet, they have changed my family's life and turned into my passion and career.
 
When a neuro-affliction captured my first born, I started digging into alternatives. I was terrified of starting my son on drugs that would only get stronger each year, for the rest of his life. Let alone all the side effects he would have to deal with. I thought, there must be another way! Little did I know that we needed an entire lifestyle transformation (more on this in future posts).
 
After I was introduced to essential oils, with curiosity (and some hallelujah) we began using Cedarwood. This was before we knew there was a clinical trial with ADHD and Cedarwood.
 
Cedarwood is high in...
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Introduction to Using Essential Oils as a Non-Pharmacological Approach

Many suffer from depression, anxiety, overwhelming guilt, false expectations, psychosis, and memory loss. These circumstances depict our decisions, our consequences…our lives. Support is essential. Even though it's our choice to take control, support and insight can create momentum. This is what drove me to be a clinical psychologist – to give back. To show others that there is light.
 
I’ve treated patients in various settings with mental and neurological diseases. I've learned that... the most effective is teaching patients to use their hands and heart to take control of their own life. These non-pharmacological, therapeutic techniques are known as coping skills. I have been teaching patients these skills for over a decade. I now educate mental health professionals to do the same.
 
A wise colleague once told me a story about a patient who wanted more medication to treat her depression. His response to her was, “Medication is only going...
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