lavender essential oil prevents falls in the elderly

Seniors are at high risk of falling and breaking a bone. Falls are a serious health problem for the elderly and are linked to greater risk of disease and death. A solution may be a beautiful smell away. A simple, safe essential oil may help prevent seniors from falling.

Lavender essential oil has been shown to improve balance in the elderly. Poor balance can lead to falls. A recent review of research on aromatherapy in geriatric populations (Geriatr Gerontol Int. March 31, 2021;21(5):377-385) found two interesting studies.

The first found that a combination of lavender and black pepper essential oil improves balance while standing with your eyes closed.

The second found that those given lavender and grapefruit essential oil improve the taken to stand up, walk 3 minutes, turn, walk back and sit back down.

These studies suggest that lavender essential oil can improve balance in the elderly. So, can lavender essential oil prevent falls?

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted in nursing homes gave 175 seniors either a lavender patch or a placebo patch to wear on their clothes near the neck for a year.

There were significantly fewer falls in the lavender group. In the placebo group, 50% fell at least once. But in the lavender group only 35.6% fell. In the placebo group, 47% had recurrent falls versus only 24% of the lavender group who fell more than once. Altogether, in the placebo group, there were 88 falls; in the lavender group, there were 46.

This study may offer a safe, inexpensive way to prevent the people you love from falling.

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012;60(6):1005-1011

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