The seniors are coming – be prepared!
The baby boomers started turning 65 in 2011. Every day since then more than 7000 baby boomers have reached 65 and this will continue until 2030, when all baby boomers are 65 or older. This is a growing population and even if you do not plan to work exclusively with this population, you will probably see more and more seniors coming into your practice. There was a time when a person who was 65 or older was considered old. People, on average, didn’t live as long as they do today. The term geriatric seemed to fit this group of people well.
However, things have changed. People are living longer and are healthier a lot longer. Many of the clients I work with would not be very happy if I told them that I did “geriatric” massage, even if they are in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. In my experience, senior massage does NOT equal geriatric massage. I like to think that geriatric massage is a subset of senior massage, not the other way around. Now, don’t get me wrong, even if you have a client who is a healthy senior, that client’s body is going through changes and, as massage therapists, we do need to understand what is happening and be able to adjust our sessions if and when necessary. But, to just assume that someone needs a very different massage just because of a date on a calendar is the wrong way to approach working with clients who are 65 and older.
In my practice I work in a 55 and older community, so I have access to a wide range of seniors who range from hale and hardy to frail. I have 70 year old clients who need and look for a firm, deep massage to help work out their aches, pains, and muscular problems. I also have clients in their 70s who need a much lighter touch and are grateful for the Swedish, circulatory work I perform. Each client needs a session designed for their particular body condition and needs.
In my Beyond 60: Massage for Mature CE class we will discuss how to evaluate a senior citizen so that you can provide the massage that is both needed and wanted by your senior clients as well as discuss how to work with common health issues that face seniors. We will also touch on some geriatric massage topics. I will also share some techniques that will help you in working with seniors.
You will not find a more appreciative and rewarding clientele!