POWER OF TOUCH..............................GOES A LONG WAY IMHO AND IN OTHER'S OPINIONS
All individuals, regardless of age or abilities, have the need for touch and love and the desire for companionship. Touch is a human need and personalizes caregiving. People respond to touch depending upon their upbringing and self-image. A touch can convey compassion, not just sexual interest. It can convey reassurance (as a gentle stroking of the forearm), safety (as an arm around the shoulder) or relaxation (as a shoulder massage) among other feelings.
So often we rely on the "miracles of modern medicine" and technological solutions to the stresses of aging and physical illness (and even spiritual/emotional losses). Most religions have traditions of the healing and curative powers of touch. These traditions can be interpreted as myth or fact. Yet even modern science recognizes the importance of human interaction and physical contact. Touching or massage can promote physiological responses such as decreased nervous tension, decreased muscle contractions, increased circulation, and decreased heart rate and blood pressure.
Ten years ago as I watched a good friend of mine die of AIDS. As David’s disease progressed he suffered from terribly disfiguring Kaposi’s sarcoma. People avoided him on the street and averted their eyes. In the days before he died, I made a conscious effort to face him as I spoke and rest my hand on his knee or shoulder when we sat together. At times this was not easy for me. I did not – could not – cure his disease. But I know that I made a difference in his frame of mind, especially given his own perception of himself as "untouchable."
When I volunteered as a Long-Term Care Ombudsman at a nursing home, I frequently found myself sitting and talking with residents. THEY reached out to touch me – grasping my arm (sometimes bone-crunching!), tapping my knee and even kissing my hand. People in residential settings are not solely "patients" – they need attention and affection more than ever before.
Caregivers have a great opportunity to enhance the well-being of their loved ones by being more conscious of the power that they hold in the fingertips. I have included a few additional examples:
Encourage family members and guests to face their elder when talking to him/her. This is an essential skill for hearing-impaired or demented elderly. Gently massage some lightly scented lotion on your loved one’s hands and feet. Yeah, old people’s feet get gnarly, because/so they don’t get touched often. Have a podiatrist take care of nail clipping and necessary medical procedures. Whenever you sit or stand with your loved one, retain physical contact by holding his/her hand or arm. This also can help to orient a demented or sight-impaired person. Avoid signs and actions that show your discomfort or repulsion to your loved one’s ailment(s). People are very conscious of the way that other people perceive them and take on negative frames of mind.
Alzheimer's Early Stages: First Steps in Caring and Treatment by Daniel Kuhn et al.
The 36-Hour Day : A Family Guide to Caring for Persons With Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss in Later Life by Nancy L. Mace et al.
There's Still a Person in There : The Complete Guide to Treating and Coping With Alzheimer's by Michael Castleman et al.
I have read these books and they give a warm HEALTHY insight to the caregiver............IMHO.........LYN
DX: Crohns,Pyoderma Gangrenosum,Anxiety/Panic,
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