If you care for a loved one suffering from dementia, you see the pain and confusion they deal with on a daily basis. Dementia is a complex disease that affects so much of an individual—memory, thought patterns, behaviors. What it doesn't affect, however, is their need for basic human contact. Read on to learn more about the benefits involved with massage therapy in the dementia population and why you should consider it for your loved one.
Agitation is a common emotion for those patients suffering from dementia and its related diseases. It's an understandable emotion, considering dementia robs not only memories, but also all forms of control—mental, physical, and emotional.
Massage therapy offers these patients a chance to relax, decreasing their agitation and making them more aware of their surroundings. This can make them more compliant with staff and caretakers, as well as keep them safe from personal harm. It also puts less emotional stress on the body, leading to better overall health and happiness.
As dementia is a disease that primarily affects the aging population, it's safe to say that many dementia patients feel pain that is just a common part of aging. For many patients, however, informing a caretaker of their pain is difficult due to the cognitive loss that goes along with the disease.
Massage therapy can offer dementia patients a reprieve from their pain. While they may not be able to tell the therapist where something is hurting, therapists are trained to see signs of pain in the body, such as muscle stiffness or twisting. These telltale signs can help trained therapists to gently relieve the pain, calming the patient and leading to a happier overall demeanor.
When all signs of your loved ones are gone—their memories, their personality—it can be difficult to keep in mind that their need for human connection is still present. Dementia patients still seek human interaction, even if it's not in the same way as they did before the disease took over.
Massage therapy can be performed on a number of body parts and in a number of ways, but the basic principle remains: Massage therapy fills the need for human connection for many dementia patients. Whether performing back, hand, or foot massage, massage therapy can lead to a connectedness that calms the patient and leads to less agitation and moments of happiness. This can help the patient to better connect with their caretaker, leading to easier care and a happier relationship.
Caring for a loved one with dementia is beyond difficult. At times, it can feel like you're caring for a stranger. Listed above are three reasons massage therapy is a great addition to the basic care routine of your loved one. If you'd like to discuss the benefits further, contact a massage therapist who has experience working with dementia patients. Referrals can be gotten from nursing homes and hospitals, as well as other dementia patient caretakers.
For more information, contact La Mesa Chiropractic Center or a similar location.