Recently my mom, sister, and I went to visit my 87 year old grandmother who lives 2 hours away, and has In Home Hospice Care. One of the nurses had told us that Grandma was not wanting to eat and was feeling pretty low. We hoped a visit from the three of us would cheer her up. Grandma does not want flowers, balloons, stuffed animals etc, so I often feel at a loss as to what I can give her.Grandma was in a blue state of mind when we arrived, lying motionless curled up in her bed. We talked a bit and coaxed her into sipping on a cup of soup. She perked up somewhat and wanted us to take her outside.
Before the end of the visit, we asked her if she would like a massage. She indicated an enthusiastic yes, which surprised us because sometimes she doesn’t want to “bother” us for a massage. Being that she has arthritis, back pain, and mild nausea we applied a few drops of PanAway and Ortho Ease massage oil that have a minty uplifting aroma. A note: do not use these oil blends if a person is taking aspirin, blood thinners, cortisone, or is epileptic because they contain wintergreen which has a cortisone-like activity.
My grandmother’s blissful sighs as my mom rubbed her back were so wonderful to hear. I was grateful there was something we could give that brought her some happiness and showed how much we cared. I rubbed the oils gently up and down her thin, frail arms thinking about how many people lay in hospital, hospice, or even beds at home longing for this simple human connection. The sweet aroma of the essential oils filled the room, transforming the stale atmosphere as she enjoyed a foot massage punctuated by more peaceful sighs.
When applying oils to the ill, aged, or those in recovery, be sure to let them smell the oils you will be using before rubbing them on. Light gliding strokes are very soothing. Use just one or two drops of oil mixed with jojoba or a massage oil base.
Lavender is always a good choice for basic relaxation. Diffuse citrus oils or blends rather than topical application to avoid skin sensitivities. Some patients cannot be moved to receive a back massage, but a gentle hand and/or foot massage will still be wonderfully effective.
Give the gift of aromatherapy and touch to someone you care about, it will mean more to them than words can say!