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The Interactive Massage Service

Using massage we encourage those with cognitive disabilities to reach outside of themselves and develop enduring relationships with others. For almost two decades we have worked with those with dementia, severe learning disabilities, challenging behaviour and autism. We have taken massage into critical care, schools and have worked with young people at risk, using massage to build self-esteem and break down barriers caused by bullying. We have connected with many family members of those with dementia, believing they are sometimes overlooked as they struggle to come to terms with the changes in their relationships. So for them, we have developed a therapeutic massage workshop where we teach a simple massage technique. During the workshop family members are encouraged to offer this massage to their loved-ones. The entire family can use this technique to massage their relative and connect with them throughout all stages of dementia.

27 May 2019
East of England
Local Alliances:
Southend, Castle Point and Rochford District Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

Our workshops take place within the care home environment and focus upon providing a usefultool to support the family members throughout all stages of dementia and the impact it has onthem. They can relax, learn a simple hand and arm massage technique and share the experiencewith others. They are then encouraged to use the technique on their loved-ones during theworkshop and beyond.We use a specific massage technique, music and aromas, designed to enhance relaxation, whilestimulating cognitive responses, benefitting both family member and the person with dementia.We encourage family members to continue using the massage technique and the additional toolsfor the positive emotional effects on both them and their loved-ones. Even though the person withdementia may not always recognise their relative, they are likely to remember the pleasure andtherapeutic effects associated with the massage. For the family member a sense of givingsomething back can help alleviate associated feelings of guilt, grief, loss and anger.We plan to introduce the service to relatives caring for loved-ones at home and who perhaps lackthe wider support of the care home community.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

We have been delivering workshops within carehomes to reach more people. Forthose at home caring for someone with dementia, making them aware of theservice creates more of a challenge.Providing the service to those at home or finding venues. Costs –Overheads/Advertising - Charging a reasonable amount for individuals whileattempting to keep overheads low. This is a new venture for an existing business,which has so far been built on recommendation and referrals. The concept isunique, so a website would be helpful, as well as a new business logo. Time to puteverything in place is probably the greatest challenge at present. We would belooking for support to keep our other service in place while the dementia massageworkshops develop.

2. Actions

  • To offer the massage service to those carers looking after loved-ones with dementia at home.

    We have had a positive response from care homes, offering to host the workshops and invite people from the community to join in. We would be looking to other homes (and partners within the Alliance), to be open to invite people from the community to attend the workshops. One home has offered to host a workshop entirely with carers from the community free of charge. Potentially the home could be meeting its future residents. The carer would be participating in the workshop, but also have a glimpse of life within a care home which may be helpful if in the future their relative needed more support. In hosting the event free of charge to carers within the community, the homes would help us to keep overheads down, which would then be reflected in the cost to their residents and family members.


    2019 - Second Quarter Update

    new member action

  • Promoting the massage workshops to carers within the community.

    At present we are looking at partners within the Alliance to help promote the workshop. All the
    homes hosting the workshops have been open to receiving carers from the community and we have
    also received support from Southend Borough Council’s dementia team in promoting the workshop
    locally for those carers at home. We are looking at building a website and introducing a new logo
    more relevant and inclusive, which we can direct people to via partners within the Alliance. We will
    very likely be looking at applying for funding for the website.


    2019 - Second Quarter Update

    New member action

  • Support to keep our business running and meet our existing client’s needs whilst developing the dementia massage workshops.

    It is important our existing clients with dementia and severe learning disabilities continue to receive
    our interactive massage service, while the dementia workshops develop and grow and we are
    therefore looking at help to run that part of our service. We will be advertising for a massage
    therapist (holistic/Swedish) Level 3.


    2019 - Second Quarter Update

    New member update