When I arrived for our massage session, my client Mary’s eyes were devoid of awareness, as if she were there only in body. Mary is an Alzheimer’s patient at a special memory care facility in Westminster, Colorado. She barely speaks, and when she does, her words cannot be understood. When I first began volunteering massage services to seniors years ago, I was nervous around clients like Mary, because communication is so important to the therapist-client relationship. In a case like Mary’s, however, communication is challenging and requires an approach beyond words.
Day-Break Geriatric Massage Institute
Stroke is one of the sneaky adversaries that snoops around members of the over-60 set, often pouncing when least expected. It can strike the nice old gentleman as he sits on a park bench feeding the pigeons or it may fell the executive bent over his putter, trying to sink the ball in the 18th hole in hopes of ending another golf outing triumphantly. A stroke can wipe out the lifelong athlete in the midst of that big senior meet.
“Mary” is a 90-year-old client of mine who suffers from diabetes. It has left her legally blind and has significantly compromised the circulation in her legs. She has had one hip replaced and, because of her poor eyesight, has regular caregivers. Otherwise, she is a vital senior, interested in the world, nature and literature, who is a delight to be with. So, it was a surprise upon my arrival for our weekly massage session that I found her in a great deal of pain from a fall she’d had two days prior to my visit. She had fallen against her wood-burning stove and had cracked her pelvis.
Basis for Massage Therapy
The question comes up occasionally — What makes massage so special that we want to put it into patient care? The skeptic talks of placebo effect, while the massage junkie talks of the power of touch. Sometimes we ourselves are surprised at our results. We look at our hands and note they are remarkable tools, but we know that so are everyone else’s.