One of the most challenging aspects of caring for an aging parent is finding the right resources to improve his/her quality of life. I love giving my mother material gifts, however, services that improve her health are just as, if not more, important because they can help extend her life. As I grow older, I’ve found that it isn’t enough to tell her she needs to practice self-care and wellness, I must find her tangible resources for wellness options including ones she might not know about, or think about.
Though my mother lives in a gated and well-equipped retirement community, she is faced with the issue of getting out of the house less than she used to. She’s also getting less flexible and active as she ages, which is natural. One of the tangile wellness resources I found to address these changes is therapeutic massage.
There are several key reasons why I think massage is beneficial for an aging parent:
1. As people age, they often don’t–and can’t– exercise on a regular basis. Massage therapy helps improve range of motion through assisted stretching, which helps to decrease joint pain, speed recovery, increase blood circulation and energy, while reducing stress and tension.
2. Sleep is especially important for individuals over the age of 65, but sleep patterns can be disrupted as your body ages. A recent report by the National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7-9 hrs of sleep. Massage can help people relax, which is necessary for healthier sleep.
3. Aging can, unfortunately, result in losing connections with friends and family, especially if it’s no longer safe for someone to drive. Having a caring massage therapist come to an older person’s home on an ongoing basis means more social interaction, and can boost a person’s mood and restore their spirit.
When my mother and I first started talking about massage, we were uncertain about her going to a spa for this. We then discussed someone coming to her house. Initially, she was skeptical because she didn’t know who would be coming into her personal space. We looked at various home massage services, and I found one called Soothe, which carefully vets their therapists, performs background checks, and has high ratings. We gave them a try.
It worked out better than expected. After a couple of months, my mom is feeling much better–both physically and emotionally.