Different Dementia Care Therapies: Relaxation for Your Loved One

The importance of human touch and interaction in dementia patients is a well-explored area in medical science. Massage therapies, for example, have shown promise in helping dementia patients relax. On the flipside, the lack of human touch and interaction causes negative emotions and feelings of isolation and depression in those suffering from this condition. It also decreases their trust in people—especially in their caregivers. Massage therapies help them feel better physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically. A short, simple hand massage can instantly reduce the cortisol levels, which then relaxes the patient. Five minutes of hand massage therapy every morning can alleviate their mood and decrease agitation.

Massage therapies improve their quality of life and decrease their stress. A mild back massage that makes use of effleurage helps stimulate sleep, lowers blood pressure, and releases endorphins. Effleurage requires long, rhythmic strokes using the palm of the hand. Massage therapists often follow patterns such as a figure-eight motion in the back. It has been shown to improve the overall mood in patients, especially when they are having difficulty in their treatment. According to a 2011 study published in the Australasian Journal of Aging, two weeks of a short foot massage that lasts around ten minutes can help reduce restless, agitated behavior (which often involves repetitive conduct and verbal hostility).

Geriatric massage also helps seniors who suffer from dementia. This type of massage is formulated to specifically cater to the needs of elderly people, who generally have thinner skin that can be easily bruised or hurt. This is why geriatric massage therapists are trained to perform massage strokes gently and make use of light pressure. Some senior care facilities that specialize in patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s make regular massage a part of their care program. Ask them about it to know more.