What makes a (Assisted Living) Home a Home?

It is often said “Home is where the Heart Is”, but is that always the case with assisted living or nursing homes?  I would be willing to bet my last nickle if you were to poll the residents of these centers the answer would be a resounding “NO!!”.  But that was not the case with the residents I had the privilege of meeting this past Thursday when I was invited to bring my massage chair and participate in a Health Fair at the “BrookDale Living” Assisted Living Home in Arlington, Texas.

From a women getting ready to celebrate her 101st birthday, to a gentleman who has been a resident for 8 years, to a brave women with a debilitating disease…. all responded the same way when I asked how they enjoyed living at the Home…..they all answered the same…. “I love it”!  

Anyone who has had to put a loved one in one of these homes has no doubt done their research and found the following statements when searching “how to chose an assisted living home”…… Some of which are “24-hour supervision, 3 meals a day, personal care services, medication management and so on”.  

It wasn’t these things that the residents at BrookDale went on and on about.  They loved the knitting clubs, bingo, and the chair yoga classes…..Chair Yoga….how cool is that.  I’m half the age of the average resident at BrookDale and I am seriously considering trading in my mat for a chair after listening to them.   

It was equally noticeable how the staff cared about the residents and took a genuine interest in them and their needs.  I watched as the staff didn’t just single out the guests of the health fair but greeted the residents by name and actually talked with them….not just a “hi, how are you” as they kept their stride, but actually stopped to answer their questions and see how they were doing.  They actually listened to them.  I even over-heard one of the residents telling the activity director “we need chair yoga more than once a week” and her reply…. “I’m working on it” and you couldn’t help but know she meant it!   Then there was a nurse that went out of her way to approach me and asked if Iwould consider working on a resident who had a degenerative muscular disorder.  She didn’t have to do that, but she was thinking of her resident and wanted her to be able to receive the free service everyone else was getting.

Its not any one of these things alone that made this Assisted Living Home stand out to me….it was all of them together!

It is my goal to join these type of wellness providers and have my massage chair and table become a regular site at not only BrookDale but at as many assisted living and nursing homes in the DFW area as possible…..so I can help these individuals feel  like their home is where their heart can be!

Kuddos to the Activity Director of BrookDale Living and the many other employees for treating her residents as their family!!!

How Well Do You Know Your Massage Therapist (Part 2)….

Thinking on the Washington Post article and the comparison between “MDs and everyone else” (in reference to other professions in the wellness arena) and it got me to thinking….

How many of us simply do a google search…pick out a Dr. and schedule our surgery?  We don’t!  We wouldn’t.  Most of us would first (at a minimum) set up a consultation right?  Well why not do the same with your massage therapist before going to their home or inviting them into yours.  I thought this was a brilliant idea (if I do say so myself) so I have updated my “contact” page to offer a “free consultation”.

All you have to do is go into any Starbucks or local coffee shop to see business people on conference calls, in meetings, etc.  If anyone reading this blog is interested in this option, just give me a call and I will meet you in a location of your choice and we can discuss a treatment plan that is tailor made just for you!  (I can even be convinced to bring my massage chair and offer you a free demo) J

Ooooo that is a good idea…..

How many of you would visit a local coffee house and get a chair massage  as a way to “try out” a massage therapist before actually booking an appointment?  Take the above poll and depending on results you may just see me and my chair at your local coffee house in the near future!

How Well do you Know YOUR Massage Therapist?

Once I got my license, ordered the business cards, built the website I got to thinking….now what?  I had no real desire to go to work in a spa or health club as that was part of what attracted me to this field… The opportunity of being able to work for myself.  My first desire was to start cold calling on nursing homes, assisted living centers and hospice centers.  However, with their limited funds it wasn’t long before I realized it would take some time before I could build up this kind of clientele, which brought me to another thought …. these are the type of people that sooo need massage… so why not donate my time there.  As any business person knows though your business would need to make money before you can consider donating.

I have colleagues who had made recommendations that worked for them.  One in particular was Wally Sagui (also now an LMT that I went to school with).   Wally made the recommendation that I sign up with “WeeklyPlus.com“.  But that would require me posting an advertisement and committing to taking on any average Joe, Sue, Bobby or Kim that bought the package.  Don’t get me wrong it’s not that they don’t need massage or are not worthy….because they DO and they ARE!  My concern was inviting a stranger into my home or going to their home.  Lets face it in this day and age all one has to do is listen to the news or read about the “craig’s list killer” to get spooked out of that decision!  The longer I thought about my fears for myself it dawned on me (and I’m embarrassed it took so long)…..”well what about the Client?  They don’t know me either “ and they are the ones who have to undress, get on my table and trust I know what I am doing.  Which lead me my original question…..


I stumbled across an article by the Washington Post with the exact same Title and in there was a quote that struck me kinda funny…. “The world is basically divided into two groups: MDs and everyone else.”  The article also went on to say “physicians practicing traditional Western medicine must be trained and licensed and are subject to oversight by state medical boards, practitioners in many fields of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can pretty much just hang out a shingle and start working with patients.” 

Well being a massage therapist I know this not to be the case anymore (at least in Texas).  Fortunately since September of 2007 it became law that anyone wishing to practice massage therapy had to hold a valid license indicating they have passed a specific curriculum, so many hours internship and passed a state test.

So as a means to assisting anyone who has found themselves on my site….I wanted to share with you how you can check out and confirm your massage therapist is in fact licensed.  The “Texas Department of State Health Services” has an easy way to verify license.    If you are looking for me my last name shows up as “Cottrell” …. they left out the “Conti”.  🙂

But that is just one way to help know your massage therapist better….I’m going to keep thinking on this and will keep you posted ….I’m thinking “how well do you know your massage therapist – part 2”  🙂