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Beauty Professionals Help Older Clients

Posted: October 8, 2009

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Still, several have tried to offer advice to their clients and about one-quarter have attempted to convince a client to seek professional help at some time. “While not expecting too much beyond the scope of their jobs, we may be able to help stylists direct elderly people in trouble to community services,” noted Anderson, who suggested salons be provided with brochures and other information about these services available to the elderly.

Anderson and colleagues conducted the study to test the popular notion of “salon therapy,” in which barbers and hairstylists offer sympathetic ears and act as world-weary counselors to clients who are under their care for long periods on a regular basis. “Their older clients may sit in a chair for an hour or longer while they’re having their hair done, and this may happen once or twice a month. So stylists are in a good position to recognize when things change with a client, and when they may need help,” he said.

A national program to promote awareness of domestic violence, called “Cut It Out,” already helps hairstylists recognize when clients may be victims and how to help them. While a similar program could help stylists spot mental and physical health problems in seniors, the Ohio survey found that less than half of those polled showed interest in receiving such training. “We can't expect them to do everything, but our results suggest that most stylists care about their clients and would be willing to help them,” Anderson stated in the news release.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about health issues facing the elderly.