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70 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k s e p t e m b e r / o c t o b e r 2 0 1 5 An Aging Clientele An Expert's Advice on What MTs Need to Know "With the rapidly increasing numbers of the senior population, and the current longevity seen today, therapists would be well advised to be educated in the burgeoning field of geriatric massage," says Sharon Puszko, owner of DayBreak Geriatric Massage Institute in Indianapolis, Indiana. Puszko, who has been working with elderly clients for more than 25 years, says the geriatric segment is a growing and rewarding population to serve. "Senior facilities across the country are adding massage therapy to their amenities," Puszko says, and massage therapists need to be ready to fill the growing demand. As these facilities, and the families of their elderly residents, are recognizing the therapeutic benefits of massage— including improved circulation, increased range of motion, and psychological comfort that comes from touch and active listening— the opportunities for practitioners grow. Before you start working with this clientele, however, Puszko recommends having some knowledge of the medications they may take (and a good pathology reference book), as well as the health challenges and psychological issues they might endure. This will help you know what conditions are 5 Tips for Working with Elderly Clients 1. Have patience. Elderly clients move and think a little slower. Schedule more time between sessions when booking an elderly client. You don't want yourself or the client to feel rushed. Appreciate the client for exactly where they are in the moment. 2. Be prepared for weaker bladders. Have a robe in your room for quick exits to the bathroom. contraindicated and when a doctor's permission is necessary before administering massage. Puszko says there are two things to remember as you work with this group of clients. First, your intake process is the most important thing you'll do in a massage session with an elderly client. Knowing their health history, as well as the medications they are taking, is imperative. Second, all seniors are not frail; many are robust and still very active. "Although thinning skin and weakening bones are part of the aging process, aging is not an illness," Puszko says. "Each client should be treated according to what health and aging challenges they have. As with all clients, these are individuals with individual bodies." Approach each one uniquely.

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