Healing Touch: Massage Therapies for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Care

It can no doubt be difficult to interact with loved ones who have memory problems, especially during their bad days, when they do not recognize you. But this is actually when they need you the most. Even the simple act of touching their hand can go a long way. A short, five-minute hand massage can make a huge impact in their lives, giving them immense comfort.

In early stages of dementia, changes in mood and depression are common. Dementia and Alzheimer’s patients may also have difficulty grasping their situation because in severe cases, they will not remember what they are afflicted with even if someone explains it to them every day. But while there is still no known cure for these cognitive conditions, massage therapy certainly helps.

One of the benefits of massage is improved blood flow and circulation. This lowers a person’s blood pressure and improves overall health, which then triggers the mind to produce endorphins—the body’s “feel-good” chemicals. Because of the healing powers of massage, it not only helps patients relax—it holistically treats the body, too. In the April volume of the 2015 “Massage Today,” there was an article about the positive effects of massage therapy in those suffering from dementia. It explores how massage can reduce the dependence of dementia and Alzheimer’s patients on medication. The continual use of drugs can alleviate much pain, but side effects—including nausea, diarrhea, weight loss, and vomiting—are also quite alarming. Massage therapy is proposed as a natural solution that aims to help patients relax without these side effects. Trained geriatric massage therapists can perform simple massages on memory loss patients. Ask your prospective assisted living facility if massage is a part of their care program.

For more information visit Seasonsalzcare.com.