To complement the article “Your Aging Clients: How Growing Older Affects the Human Body” in the February 2015 issue of MASSAGE Magazine.
Summary: With the U.S. senior population growing, geriatric massage provides an opportunity for massage therapists to grow their businesses and experience the rewards of working with this clientele.
These 10 tips can help practitioners effectively market to members of this age group who live in retirement communities.
With 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, it is important for massage therapists to market themselves to the growing senior population, in the places they live. Here is my list of dos and don’ts for successfully marketing geriatric massage to retirement communities.
DO use social media to market geriatric massage.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, personal websites and other online resources make it easy for group home administrators to find you, and also for you to locate retirement communities.
DON’T approach the wrong person at the retirement community.
The administrator is usually not the person overseeing health-and-wellness programs. Instead, you’ll need to locate the activities or wellness director and make an appointment with him to discuss the benefits of a geriatric massage program at the facility.
DO offer several free, 30-minute massages during your visit.
Make sure one of those massages is for the activities or wellness director. If this person initially does not respond favorably to the idea of offering massage to residents, experiencing one for himself may change his mind.
DO get involved with health-and-wellness fairs.
Many retirement communities and assisted-care facilities sponsor health or fitness fairs, where local organizations and businesses are invited to demonstrate their products and services, and hand out information. I often attend such fairs and offer five-minute hand-and-shoulder seated massages.
A fair usually lasts about three hours, and there is almost always a line in front of my booth the entire time. Fairs are well-organized events, and I make a lot of contacts there—not just with the communities hosting them, but also with residents attending who live in other communities.
DO bring large-print business cards.
These ensure residents can easily get in touch with you for sessions.
DO keep your credentials handy.
Bring a copy of both your massage therapy license and proof of insurance when you provide massage at a retirement facility, as you may be asked to show them.
DON’T list all modalities you specialize in on your business cards.
Instead, make your marketing materials specific to seniors.
DO use phrases targeted to seniors.
Cite benefits such as “increased flexibility”; “better balance”; and “improved sleep.”
DON’T underestimate the power of healthy touch.
Geriatric massage can provide both physical and emotional benefits for seniors. One simple touch can make the difference between someone having a bad day, and someone having a great day.
DON’T neglect continuing education.
Classes that specialize in geriatric massage will help you prepare to work with this age group and be aware of seniors’ unique needs.
No matter where or with whom you choose to work, geriatric massage can be some of the most rewarding work to do in this field. I feel honored to be able to help seniors live happier lives, and I hope you get the opportunity to do the same.
Sharon Puszko, Ph.D., L.M.T., is an educator and owner/director of Daybreak Geriatric Massage Institute (www.daybreak-massage.com), a nationally approved continuing education provider of massage for seniors. She has 35 years’ experience teaching and working with the senior population. She wrote “Your Aging Clients: How Growing Older Affects the Human Body” for MASSAGE Magazine (February 2015).