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Every special population that you see at a massage practice has unique needs. Providing massage therapy for elderly clients is no exception. Elderly clients will have different needs depending on a variety of physical and mental factors, and you’ll have to make some adjustments and adapt your massage practice accordingly.

One consideration that makes sense is to install exterior and interiors signs that are easy to see. It also is important to have doorknobs that are easy to use. Lighting is also important – rooms and hallways should be well-lit, and it’s best to avoid lights that cause a bright glare.

Elderly clients may also have respiratory issues, whether it is from asthma, allergies, or other factors. Clean and dust your massage practice regularly (you should already be doing this anyway). Also think about what scents, if any, you may use during a massage session from oils, lotions or candles. Avoid allergens if at all possible.

Navigation into your practice from outdoors, as well as navigation of hallways, waiting rooms, and other spaces should be easy for someone with a cane, walker, or wheelchair.

Remove clutter throughout your work space, and clear hallways of anything that could become a dangerous obstacle to someone visiting your practice for a massage session. Throw rugs and small area rugs are especially dangerous.

The bathroom in your practice should be wheelchair accessible and have grab bars, as well as a sink that can be reached from a wheelchair.

The massage treatment room should also be clutter free and obstacle free. A client should be able to move safely around the treatment room and have sturdy surfaces that can be used to help navigation.

It is always important to communicate clearly and effectively with elderly clients. Make sure that your clients are warm enough and are tolerating the massage well. You should also communicate with the client beforehand about any lotion or oil you may use, so you can make adjustments upon request.

Taking the needs of the elderly into consideration will provide a safe, relaxing and therapeutic experience during each massage session…leading to a beneficial relationship and a repeat client.

©The Academy of Massage Therapy and Bodyworks
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