Hairstylists can see potential health issues in senior clients, including depression, dementia or self-neglect. | Home Care Assistance Hairstylists can see potential health issues in senior clients, including depression, dementia or self-neglect. | Home Care Assistance
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Hairstylists can see potential health issues in senior clients, including depression, dementia or self-neglect.

-Dr. Kathy Johnson, PhD, CMC

A recent exploratory study states that hairstylists can steer elderly clients to requisite health services. The survey conducted on more than 80 percent hair stylists in Columbus region stated that older clients often or always shared their problems during appointments.

The study was conducted by Anderson with Andrea Cimbal and Jeffrey Maile – graduate students in social work at Ohio State. Said Keith Anderson, co-author of the study and assistant professor, social work, Ohio State University, “Hair stylists are in a great position to notice when their older clients suffer from depression, dementia or self-neglect.” Based on the results, Anderson said most stylists do develop close long-term relationships with older clients. About 85 percent of stylists described their relationship as “close” or “very close.”  About 72 percent said their role was like one of “family” to some of their older customers.

Health and family problems were the common issues brought up – more than 75 % of stylists have heard such complaints, the survey revealed.  And more than 33 % stylists said clients have discussed problems with depression or anxiety.

Most stylists stated that their response to hearing clients’ problems lied in offering sympathy and support to cheer them up. However, less than 50 % stated that they gave advice; with only a quarter trying to get the client speak to someone who may help them.

Said Anderson, “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.”

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