Elderly massage clients are not all alike; as with any age of clients, older people can range from active and healthy to weak and infirm.
But one thing about the elderly is consistent: They are growing in numbers, because we are, as a nation, aging. And as the first wave of baby boomers crashes onto age 65, understanding what it means to remain healthy and independent in later life can have a great impact on both health-care delivery and medical policies.
The degree of health and vitality possessed by the elderly has a lot to do with the actions he or she is in control of, new research shows. The effects of proper nutrition and exercise have been studied in depth; and MASSAGE Magazine has reported on numerous studies that indicate the benefits of massage to elderly people. The new research points to additional lifestyle choices that affect how people age.
Researchers from the New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging at the University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine, found that people are more likely to age successfully if they:
• are educated
• have never been incarcerated
• are married
• consume only moderate amounts of alcohol
• work for pay or do volunteer work
• have social support
The researchers determined rates of success on factors including pain levels, ability to walk, stoop and stand, number of chronic illnesses, and participants’ self-reported statements regarding aging and quality of life.
The findings, based on telephone surveys of more than 5,600 New Jersey residents between the ages of 50 and 74, appear in The Gerontologist. The sample was drawn from New Jersey “because it is a highly diverse state whose demographic characteristics mirror those of the general U.S. population,” the researchers noted.
• Massage for Elders Could Rise, Along with Life Expectancy