Thursday, June 25, 2009

Massage and Alzheimer's Disease: What would Maslow say?

Activities directors, caregivers, and healthcare professionals, here is an interesting article from

By Ann Catlin, LMT, NCTMB, OTR

It has been said that in 25 years, the United States will have two kinds of people: those who have Alzheimer's disease and those who are caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease. Dementia is a term meaning loss of memory and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia.

As a licensed massage therapist and Compassionate Touch practitioner, I have witnessed the transformation that can occur when intentional touch is offered, enhancing quality of life of individuals living with Alzheimer's disease.

For example:

The woman, withdrawn and thought to be non-verbal, who looked me in the eye and said "thank you" following a hand massage.

The gentleman whose agitation was calmed with a simple back rub allowing the nurse's assistant to help him get dressed without the usual struggle.

The activities director who said to me, "She has been here for several months, but when I gave her a hand massage, I felt like I really got to know her for the first time!"
So what is at the heart of these seemingly magical moments? There is clearly something profound happening that goes well beyond simple touch. We can explore the relationship between human needs and well-being to gain a greater understanding of how deep our touch truly goes.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) was the whole article

Here is a great dementia resource for caregivers and healthcare professinals,

Here is information on being the best caregiver you can be

Here are more interesting dementia articles and activities,

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