Some of the most rewarding work for massage therapists and bodyworkers is interacting with people afflicted with dementia. What makes it so rewarding is how beneficial it is to the clients.
A Crabbèd Old Woman
The body it crumbles. Grace and vigor depart.
There now is a stone where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass, a young girl still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the pain, and I remember the joys,
And I’m living and loving all over again.
And I think of the years, all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing will last.
So open your eyes, nurse, open and see
Not a crabbèd old woman,
Look closer: See me.
Before you consider massaging people with Alzheimer’s disease, you first have to learn enough about the disease to develop an understanding of the emotional problems you will face.
While the changes accompanying aging can be unsettling and frightening to the elderly, it’s comforting to know that something as simple as frequent touch can stimulate maturing minds and bodies, ensuring that the concomitant traumas of our later years are minimized. As a bodyworker, bringing touch to this facility-bound population can bring both heartache and joy, but the value of your work cannot be denied.