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I did ask her OT, I do need to ask PT too. OT said since Parkinson’s deals more with nerves rather than muscles, she wasn’t sure what the answer is concerning massage. I asked if nerves effected muscles and she said, yes, somewhat.


She did say if someone did give mom a massage they need to be experienced in geriatric care because some types of massage therapy would be too aggressive for her. Any thoughts on this? Thanks.

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I use reflexology on my husband it is gentle on the body and massages all the body as every part is connected I do the toes to heel and also do legs I use sorbeline cream and a little eucalyptus oil I just mix a little at time of use you can buy reflexologybook which will help you understand to start only do for few minutes and gradually increase go by your gut feeling as you know the and love the one your working on when my husband is unsettled I ask would you like a foot rub and the answer is all ways yes just do it gently not too much pressure hope this helps
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 7, 2019
Thanks
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yes, massage will be very helpful. When arranging for a massage, just check with the licensed massage therapist about their experience in working with elderly clients. They are well aware of the need to adjust their technique to the client (whether pregnant, elderly or young child).

Re: going to the doctor and your person not opening up - I suggest that you make a list of symptoms, reactions, pain, questions, etc. together ahead of time. Then bring that list with you. When the person (inevitably) doesn't bring up something important, it is easier to just say "oh, in looking at our list, we also wanted to tell you x, and y, and z." That way, you aren't tattling on them - you are just finishing telling the doc about the list you created together.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 6, 2019
Thanks,

This info helps.
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There certainly are some massage techniques that would be quite unsuitable for an older person – Thai massage springs to mind. If I were starting off, I would look up foot reflexology, and perhaps the same for hands, and try it myself very gently – more like stroking. Just being touched can be wonderful, and these are very embarrassment-free non-invasive places to start. They also don’t need special massage tables. Many older people are modest by nature, and are also ashamed of their bodies – weight, sagging skin, surgery scars etc. Keep the privacy stresses as low as possible when you start.

If the stroking goes well, then try a trained massage therapist, probably female as males can be so much stronger. I’d first have a session with the masseur myself to find out how it feels, and to give the therapist personal instructions for mother. Best wishes.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 6, 2019
Hadn’t thought of reflexology. Thanks. Good idea of testing things out on myself first.

True about equipment. I doubt if she could even get up on a table. Last doctor appointment with neurologist he examined her from her seated in the chair. She couldn’t get on the exam table. They would have to work around that somehow.
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If you do get her a massage, do not leave her side. Make sure you are there completely to see any signs of discomfort. and to help handling her, and to let her know you are there the whole time.

This is probably a given....
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 6, 2019
Yes, makes sense to me. Thanks.
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Need: I did read that about the therapies.
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I would only allow a physical therapist to make that judgment call.
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NeedHelp: If you do go the route of massage, I would think that it would have to be very gentle. My 94 year old mother engaged in PT and it was very mild physical therapy, designed for someone of 94.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 5, 2019
Yes, mom has PT and OT through home health. It is geared for her age and with a concentration on someone living with Parkinson’s disease.
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Hi NHWM😳, it's true that massage is over-stimulating for elderly (esp with Parkinson's). On the massage website, it states that you can be quite sore the next day, & also must be able to drink lots of water to flush toxins after massage. Would mom like some heat therapy, like hot towels @spa or home? Maybe start with heat pad @home (to test). On Michael J. Fox's website, heat therapy is mentioned. My aunt couldn't use tub, due 2 Parkinson's, but liked heat applied. Her sister did passive range of motion on her also, which is really easy to try. (You move her limbs for her, to keep joints flexible).
Also, I read that a "lymph style"massage is very gentle, (see videos on you-tube on how 2 do them). Hope you have much success! 💟🐅
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 5, 2019
She does use a heating pad at times. Thanks for info on massages. Yeah, I will have to consider everything.

I hate to see her uncomfortable. If there is something to help her ease her discomfort I will look into it.
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My 75 year old husband - with Parkinson's (stage 4) - diagnosed in 2002, gets a massage every other week. He also still exercises and does stretches (to his capability). The massages have helped and made him feel better (mentally - something to look forward to and physically). We have a licensed massage therapist come to the home. It is so much easier than getting him in to the vehicle - in to the little massage rooms / clothes off / massage / clothes on back in the vehicle and back home, etc. She brings her own massage table and all of her own supplies including battery candles and music.
Please note, she has her masters degree from a major university here in Arizona. She knows what she is doing. When she first took my husband as a client, she researched Parkinson's disease and muscles, etc. When my husband had hernia surgery, she suggested I call the doctor and get his opinion as to how long to wait - or not to massage that area. She is not someone that took an eleven month course for massage therapy at a massage school. I'm not saying these graduates aren't qualified. However, for someone with my husband's issues, I've felt someone with extra education, knowledge and experience - works best for his needs.
After reading the comments below, I have to add, my husband was never a touchy feely type if person. He would occasionally get a massage when we were on vacation, but it was never a priority. He really enjoys massages now.
A personal opinion as to why older people may like getting massages now - is that someone is touching them. It seems as if when people are old - people don't like or don't know how to touch an older person. The human touch may be just what they need (even if it isn't from a loved one).
I have observed when I take my ten pound dog to the assisted living facilities a couple of times a month, the residents love to just hold and pet her. She just sits in their lap and enjoys it too. It is something warm and alive with a beating heart that just seems to calm the resident down.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 5, 2019
Thanks, Lexi

Great answer!
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I have peripheral neuropathy with pain. I have tried massage three times. It exacerbated the pain everywhere. I tried the therapist at the hospital, a local licensed therapist that came highly recommended and a holistic practice that my PCP referred me to. I could not tolerate massage. My brother has early Parkinson’s. He has an appointment for next week. His neurologist recommended giving it a try.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 5, 2019
Thanks for info.
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My mother was always the polar opposite of touchy-feely - more don't-touch-me-getaway-y - but to my astonishment she absolutely loved the aromatherapist who visited the rehabilitation centre she was in after her stroke.

Whether or not it has any significant effect on her muscles or nerves, if massage does your mother's own sense of wellbeing any good then it is worth trying. I agree that you must look for someone with experience and technical knowledge of elder care because apart from joints and muscles there is also skin fragility to think about - the therapist must really know what she or he is doing.
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cwillie Aug 5, 2019
LOL CM, my mom was the same way, if anyone gave her shoulders a squeeze she'd tell them to get away! And yet at the end I think she might have liked a treatment from my friend, she often asked me for a back rub.
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My wife has Alzheimer's and has been in bed at home for the past year, but she has recently started having massages. This has been very successful; and she enjoys it a lot. Of course, you need a professional masseur who knows what they are doing. You want a gentle, calm massage, not a heavy, deep sports massage. I think it is worth a try, because whatever the illness you want to keep the muscles as active as possible. If the masseur is calm and professional, the client will experience that calmness and professionalism.

The mind and the body are a unity. Guy Claxton has written a fascinating book, "Intelligence in the Flesh: Why Your Mind Needs Your Body Much More Than It Thinks" (Yale University Press, 2015). Chapter 9, "The Augmented Body" is of particular interest. It is clear that with neurological diseases exercise tailored to each person is still important.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 5, 2019
I have thought about it and feel it could be soothing for her.
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Hello, I would check with your local hospital about whether or not they offer massages for seniors. My local hospital offers such a program, you do need to pay for it, but it worth a try.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 5, 2019
Nice, will do. Thanks.
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My mom has severe arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis and has had several strokes. She receives weekly massages through her palliative hospice services and she loves them. My massage therapist told me it’s a different style of massage that focuses on therapeutic touch. My mom had gone through years of PT and more recently OT which was very painful for her. The massages are very relaxing for her. I truly recommend giving it a try with the right expert.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 5, 2019
Good to know, thanks!
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I worked with lots of residents with Parkinson's and massage did help them. Same with residents with MS. The right massage therapist will know what they are doing and will not hurt her. Ask the SNF or rehab for a referral or call around to some of the local massage therapists and ask. Usually they are quite honest about if that is not their area of expertise. They do not want to hurt someone.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 5, 2019
Great, thanks so much...
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I agree that there is very specialized care needed here. Massage often works with muscles and there just aren't a whole lot in the end to work with. That leaves you with nerves that can actually be activated and things exacerbated with massage, especially deep massage. You need to know someone who incorporates senior needs, who has knowledge of certain disease processes, and who uses also a gentle range of motion, gentle stretching. And gentle is the byword. You also need permission of the primary doctor. And what a great gift to want to offer.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 1, 2019
Alva,

Exactly. Mom is tiny. Her OT is concerned about something like ‘deep tissue’ massage that would be too aggressive for her.
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God bless your friend, cwille. She sounds wonderful. I would love to find someone like her.
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I have a very good friend who has worked in related disciplines all her life although she has never gone to school as a formal massage therapist (she has taken many courses though), the majority of her clients are seniors and people struggling with various musculoskeletal problems. She doesn't follow "the book" and plans her techniques around what people need and can tolerate, that's why she has customers who are willing to come to her even though her treatments aren't covered under their health benefits (she also knows she has to charge accordingly). Ask around and hopefully you can find someone like her.
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Of course you should be talking to the doctor!! It drives me nuts when I would take my mother to the dr and she'd be moaning and groaning and all that--doc would open the door "So how are you today Mrs T?" and she'd say "Oh, can't complain'. And she wouldn't and we'd leave and she'd say "what a waste of time".

I sure hope this is a thing of the past! You go to the dr for HELP with stuff you cannot do on your own, for meds, for advice. Just tell her what's going on and ask her opinion.

AS far as the massage, trying it would be the best bet. Daddy liked his feet and legs rubbed and his hands and arms. I could not flip him over for a back massage. Sometimes we could prop him up for shoulders and neck. As long as he wasn't in pain--we were given the OK to do whatever helped.
DRs are trained to hear it ALL and make decisions based on what they HEAR. They aren't gods, they are human and need the patient or patient's advocate to step up and TALK.

Yes, you should make a detailed LIST about all your questions. Your dr WORKS for you, and can't do the job if they don't have the info!!!!

(My SIL is a gastroenterologist and he tells me that probably 80% of his patients come in with some complaint and will NOT discuss it with him, so he's playing cards in the dark. He goes nuts when older folks won't use the right language and feel 'too shy' to discuss their gut issues. Trust me, he has seen it all and heard it all.)

Don't know about holistic docs--do you mean osteopaths or 'shaman' type healers? World of difference.
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NeedHelpWithMom Aug 1, 2019
Thanks MidKid,

Just got home from doctor’s appointment. Yep, my mom acts like there are no ‘no complaints’ in his chair too. I hate having to call her how but what else can I do? As you say, they need to be filled in.

The Parkinson's disease is progressing and he agreed that she did need the skilled nursing rehab at the nursing home along with home health and pretty much said the same as you did about the massage. He says we can try it. Trial and error. So I guess I should be calling you, Dr. MidKid! Hahaha. Thanks so much. I appreciate your feedback.

I could try and massage myself too, like you did.

These ER visits are no fun! They kept her and admitted her the last visit and they recommended the skilled nursing rehab at the nursing home, which I agreed to. My poor mom, the rigidity from the Parkinson’s is slowly getting worse.
It took her an hour to get up from her bedside commode. Sure, she’s slow but it has never taken that long before! So off to the ER we went. Whew! Gets mentally and physically draining.
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cwille,

Yeah, those were my feelings as well, that the nerves and muscles are connected. She did agree that they were. Her concern was that it could be too aggressive for mom. She’s 93. Are holistic doctors covered by insurance? She has Medicare and Humana gold plus.

I am just brainstorming. Today is her appointment with her neurologist. Should I ask his opinion on this? He agrees that mom needs home health to learn to function better. Skilled nursing rehab ordered home health after they discharged her.

This is her 4th round doing home health. I’m concerned. Can you give me more feedback please?
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Thanks, MidKid. This info really helps me. The OT is with mom’s home health care. Everything you say, makes sense to me.
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I think it would really depend on a person to person case. In some, the nerves are just on 'fire' so to speak and massage would be agonizing. For some it may be pleasant and helpful to 'loosen' up some of the stiffness.

I'd give daddy a foot rub and he enjoyed those--but honestly, getting him onto a massage table would have been impossible. And it would have taken 3 people to roll him over.

OF COURSE the nerves affect the muscles. What kind of OT are you dealing with?

And yes, you would want someone really comfortable with pressure points and the 'aging' body. I get massages and I have stopped them mid-massage at times and said "Listen, do NOT dig your elbow in my kidneys, OK?" A GOOD masseuse will be able to read the body of the person they're working on.
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Where did that OT go to school?
Strictly speaking Parkinson's is a brain disease, but that doesn't mean the effects aren't felt throughout the body. What about spasticity? What about rigidity? Does she not think these might cause pain in the muscles?
I would advise you to look for an independent therapist who has a holistic philosophy and bagful of tricks to try and is into alternative medicines like reiki.

Simple range of motion movements can be very beneficial as well, keeping the joints flexible and preventing contractures (which as I distressingly learned can happen even in those who are still somewhat mobile)
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