It seems like a never ending thing we hear….Our senior population is getting bigger and Wow!!! Yes they are also getting older. All of those baby boomers are fast approaching the status of being called seniors and me…Yup…getting close as well. What’s really amazing is that according to the 2011 Canadian Census, 9.6 million people, or close to 3 Canadians out of 10 (29%), were considered baby boomers. These numbers are huge.
Things have changed in our seniors … not only has life expectancy changed but also the quality of life for our seniors has changed. Our seniors seem to be stronger and more active than before. But some things have not changed and that is the need for therapists who are actually interested in working with this population and understand what special needs “seniors” have.
What exactly is Geriatric Massage?
Geriatric massage is more than just a relaxation or Swedish massage! It is specific and specialized techniques designed to deal with aging skin and muscles. It is critical to choose a therapist who has had experience with seniors or geriatric massage.
What are the benefits of Geriatric Massage?
Recent scientific research on aging and disease has included geriatric massage as a way to help aging patients. For example, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends using massage to sooth an Alzheimer’s patient who has become irritated and aggressive¹
The New England Journal of Medicine described a study aimed to decrease the onset of an episode of delirium in patients with dementia.²
The Healing Power of Touch!
Canadian Census data showed that about 25% of the population aged 65 and over now live alone. This lack of interaction with others can cause some pretty significant problems such as depression and certain health problems but it is also reported the isolation and loneliness in seniors can lead to shorter lifespans, heart disease and dementia.
Sometimes, a senior has network of family or friends, and feels disconnected from his/her community
The simple act of touch can be very powerful and can reportedly slow ones heart rate, decrease blood pressure, and strengthen the immune system!
What I have experience is that our culture (whatever that might be here in Canada) doesn’t seem very affectionate. Our lives are moving so fast that it’s sometimes easy to forget the basic, most wonderful things in life..the physical interaction with others.
As massage therapists, it is very important to remember the importance and power of what we do…touch. It is important to remember the impact therapeutic touch can have on our clients. There are so many rewards when it comes to working with seniors…we are basically feeding the souls of our clients who have possibly been starved for interaction, for caring, for friendship and for compassionate touch.
What are the Benefits of Massage for our Seniors?
There are so many benefits of massage for our seniors. These benefits include:
- Improved blood and lymph circulation
- Faster healing
- Pain relief
- Restored range of motion and flexibility
- Reduced anxiety, tension and stress
- Relief from depression
Remember that isolation and loneliness are key signs that a senior lacks the support and tools needed to live a healthy, independent life and that something as simple as the interaction with a massage therapist can be a changing and wonderful thing. Simply having someone who is providing human, therapeutic touch along with simple communication and deep listing can have an enormous impact on the senior’s wellbeing.
At Custom Bodies Fitness and Massage, we offer relaxation and restorative massage therapy for seniors. We strongly believe that human touch is one of the most powerful remedies and we are dedicated to enhancing our senior’s quality of life, in order to make everything more enjoyable for them — we love making a difference in their lives! Book your loved one with us today!
- Steps to Understanding Challenging Behaviours: Responding to Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Association, 1998
- New England Journal of Medicine, March 4, 1999