Alternative therapies for people living with dementia

Woman listening to music

There are a range of therapies you can try* that don’t involve taking medications. Some of these therapies may help manage symptoms, while others may help to reduce stress and ease feelings of anxiety or isolation. 

  • Music therapy – Musical memory is sometimes undamaged by dementia. Listening to or engaging in music can bring joy to a person living with dementia and also help create connections with friends and family.
  • Aromatherapy – Aromatherapy works by stimulating olfactory receptors that, in turn, stimulate the emotional centre of the brain. This therapy may help relieve anxiety and depression.
  • Pet therapy – Pets can be a wonderful source of love and laughter for people living with dementia, and interactions with animals can help improve their quality of life.
  • Massage therapy – Physical benefits of massage include increased blood flow, as well as the comfort of touch. Massage therapy can also help reduce feelings of anxiety and isolation.
  • Coconut oil – The theory is that ketones produced in our bodies when digesting coconut oil may provide an alternative fuel source to keep the brain nourished.
  • Natural health products – Products such as ginkgo biloba and omega-3 fatty acid found in fish oil may have anti-inflammatory properties and memory-boosting benefits, although it’s not conclusive.

For more on alternative therapies, visit 

*The lack of research for these alternative treatments prevents us from determining their effectiveness. Please consult your doctor.