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 Project
When working with stroke victims it is important to realize that in the case of a spastic stroke, the muscles are not out of commission, but they are out of control. The balance between flexors and extenders is gone; so is the wonderful phenomenon of muscle groups that, in a fantastic choreography, can bring the most incredible variation of strength and direction of movement to bear on the most mundane moves.
EDRF. It stands for Endothelium Derived Relaxing Factor. I first made its acquaintance in 1978 when I was summoned by the neighbor of an 18-year-old client, John. This client was an incomplete quadriplegic as the consequence of a minor car accident; John’s condition required my thrice-weekly presence. After the neighbor saw the tremendous progress John made, for which I received completely unjustified credit, she chose me to save her father’s legs from amputation. Despite my protestations, she implored me to at least meet her father. Reluctantly I agreed. Well, why not?
The incidence of Parkinson’s disease in the United States is estimated at 1 million, with an additional 50,000 patients being diagnosed every year. While it is generally considered a disease of those between 50 and 79 years of age, incidence below the age of 40 is rapidly increasing and epidemiologists suspect environmental influences are playing a part in this phenomenon.1 Noting that Parkinson’s is still essentially a disease of aging, the likelihood of caucasians coming down with the disease is 2.5 percent.