There is no question our older population is growing: According to the U.S. Department of Disease Control and prevention, the number of people in the U.S. over age 65 will grow to 19.6 percent of our population—or 71 million people—in 2030. (Up from 35 million people in 2000.)

To help meet the need for education about massage for the growing elderly population, a first-of-its kind conference will promote massage therapy for eldercare and hospice—and will serve as a networking opportunity for those involved in, or interested in, this specialty.

The “Hand in Hand 2009 a Symposium to Celebrate Massage Therapy in Eldercare and Hospice” conference will take place May 1-3 in Orlando, Florida. The conference is organized by The Center for Compassionate Touch, an organization that provides massage training and consults for eldercare and hospice organizations.

The conference schedule includes a research review of massage in eldercare and hospice, presented by Diana Thompson, president of the Massage Therapy Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports scientific research, education and community service.; “The Emotional Impact of Working With the Dying,” presented by Irene Smith, a pioneer in the area of hospice and eldercare massage; and numerous other presentations and events.

The group’s website notes, “In the last decade, massage therapy has gained recognition and acceptance in mainstream health care settings like hospitals, clinics, eldercare facilities and hospices. Our profession is expanding to answer the growing demand for therapists with training to serve diverse special populations. Elders in long term care and individuals in hospice care represent a growing clientele and specialized area of practice.”

For more information, visit www.handinhand2009.com

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