Published on:

Gentle Massages Help Seniors Feel Less Pain; More Connected: Techniques You Can Learn To Calm Your Loved One

Gentle Massages Help Seniors Feel Less Pain [Photo Caption: Giving your loved one a simple hand massage can brighten his or her day.]

As a lawyer who makes frequent nursing home visits, I’m still amazed by the impersonality of it all – the blipping machines; the scary tubes; the bland, institutionalized food. I’ve always felt a profound sense of isolation during these visits – a fraction of what nursing home patients must feel on a daily basis.

While medicine and machines might not go away anytime soon, I’m encouraged by the growth of another, more gentle, healing modality: massage for seniors.

In a recent Chicago Tribune article, called “Thriving Through Touch,” several massage experts say seniors experience dramatic emotional boosts from massage.

“We know that just the touching of a person to another person, just the warmness, creates a sense of calmness and security,” said Tara Cortes, executive director of the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing at New York University.

Massage also helps seniors get physically stronger: touch stimulates special receptors under the skin, which reduces the stress hormone cortisol.

But best of all is the fact that massage can be safely administered by loved ones, in an atmosphere of trust and caring. With just a bit of patience and learning, family members can master basic skills.

Sharon Pusczko, owner of the Day-Break Geriatric Massage Insitute in Indianapolis, offers the following beginning exercises for family members:

  • Arms: Wrap both of your hands around your loved one’s wrist, and gently compress and release. Slowly work your way up the arm with the same gentle motion, always keeping in mind to massage toward the heart.
  • Hands: Using your thumbs, massage the palms with circular strokers. Try working your way up each finger with the same squeeze-and-release motion. Take care not to massage the top of the hand, as that skin’s particularly thin.
  • Feet: Again using your thumbs, massage the soles of the feet in an outward circular motion. This movement helps loosen up connective tissue.
  • Back and shoulders: Have your loved one sit on a chair. Gently place your palm on your loved one’s sacrum area at the base of the spine. Make circles on the muscles on either side of the spine, being careful not to massage any bone.

The article reminds family members to check with doctors before attempting any massage. Some medications, like blood thinners, might make skin bruise more easily.

For more information on nursing homes in Chicago look here. For laws related to Illinois nursing homes, look here.

Client Reviews

  • Having worked in the medical field, I appreciated the way that Mr. Rosenfeld and his staff approached my family’s situation. The combination of medical knowledge and legal expertise was indeed the winning combination for our case.
  • While nothing can change the way our mother was treated at a nursing facility, I do feel a sense of vindication that the facility was forced to pay for their treatment. I am certain that they would never have done had my attorneys not held their feet to the fire.
  • I was very nervous about initiating a claim against my mother’s nursing facility, but Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers took care of everything from getting the medical records to going to court. I felt like I had real advocates on my side. That meant a lot to me.
  • After a horrific episode at a nursing home, my sister and I spoke to a number of law firms. No one took the time to answer our questions and explain the legal process like Mr. Rosenfeld. He did a tremendous job on our case and I can see why he’s earned the praise he has from clients and peers.
  • I liked the fact that I could call the office and ask questions about the legal process at anytime. I could tell that my case was in good hands. I think that this was reflected in my father’s settlement was more than I anticipated the case ever being worth.