One of the best ways to show your love for someone is to give them your time and attention. When you're thinking about how to do this for a senior who you care deeply for, a nice option is giving them a special spa treatment yourself. This may be a completely new idea for you—and them—and that's okay.
Give yourself grace, do a little pre-planning, and don't worry that you're not a professional. You can start with something as simple as a soothing foot rub or decide to do something much more elaborate. Your loved one will likely appreciate the considerate gesture and may be surprised by how the act brings the two of you closer together and leaves them feeling loved in a new and unique way.
TIPS FOR PLANNING A SENIOR SPA DAY
First, consider what your loved one would like most out of a spa treatment based on the state of their physical body and health. Think about things like:
- Do they have any specific aches or pains that you could help soothe?
- Do they have arthritis? Or gout?
- Do they get dry skin?
- Do they like a particular scent?
You should ask them what they'd be comfortable with and honor their thoughts as you plan. Remember, practice mindfulness throughout your special spa day and encourage your senior to do the same. An offshoot of a relaxing day of special attention can be a boost to mental health.
As you plan the spa treatments, make sure you have all the necessary supplies on hand before you start. This will help everything go smoother. This could include items like:
- massage oil or lotion
- a soft towel or blanket
- aromatherapy candles or a diffuser with essential oils
- a small bowl and pitcher of warm water (for a foot bath)
If you're giving them a manicure or pedicure and painting nails make sure you have these items: nail clippers, a file, polish of choice as well as a base coat and a top coat. You may also want cuticle oil and a foot file to remove calluses.
Before you begin, create a peaceful, relaxing setting for your spa day. This could mean dimming the lights, playing calm music, and using soothing aromatherapy. You can even set up a massage table or use a comfy recliner. Add some extra pillows and blankets to make sure they are comfortable. Communication throughout the experience is also important so that you know they're enjoying themselves. It's also a thoughtful gesture to silence or turn off your phone so you won't be distracted and can reassure them that they are the sole focus of your attention.
SPA TREATMENT OPTIONS
- A paraffin wax bath can help arthritic hands and joints feel better. Studies have shown paraffin wax is more effective than other heat therapies, as shown by objective measures of range of motion, pinch function, grip strength, pain and stiffness. Make sure you check the wax's temperature closely before your spa partner puts any part of their body into it.
- Many older adults find that seawater therapy (thalassotherapy) can soothe arthritis symptoms and decrease inflammation by improving blood circulation.
- Check your local drugstore for face masks, body scrubs or lotions. Use a lotion infused with moisturizers and hydrating face cream to give your loved one’s skin a post-spa glow.
- Gentle massage of the feet, hands or sore areas can be extremely soothing. Start with simply slow caressing and ask before you apply more pressure or force to ensure you're not hurting them in any way.
Some managed senior living communities have salons as an amenity or bring in professionals to offer the residents salon services regularly. If the community where your loved one lives has these services, you can ask for advice on how to plan a good spa day or take advantage of the salon that is there already.