The power of intentional conscious touch is huge. Something small like a hug, a hand massage, can significantly improve the way we feel. Seniors are often very touch deprived and benefit hugely from having loving touch brought into their lives.
A gentle hand massage can help with relaxation, reducing anxiety and help someone feel connected and less isolated. Sitting close during a visit and holding a hand can make a huge difference to how cared for and "seen" an elder feels. Conscious gentle touch can help to alleviate the feeling of loneliness and isolation that often comes with time. It also helps to mitigate the effects of depression by helping the person feel connected.Other senses may dull and diminish with age but I think it is true to say that as we get older our need for touch increases and is valued tremendously.
While I was visiting a 94 year old friend in an assisted living facility I took the time to gently brush her hair while I was chatting to her. She immediately closed her eyes, stopped talking to be fully present and enjoy the experience. It brought back memories of her childhood and her mother which she shared with me.
Touch affects all of us and is vital to feeling connected. If we can introduce more healing and intentional touch into our senior's lives it will greatly add to their quality of life. It should be noted that for most people this statement is true but it is important to recognize the few for whomever this is not the case.This may be due to cultural influences or past history. They will make it clear that touch is not something they feel comfortable with.
"Too often we underestimate the power of touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around."— Leo Buscaglia in The Way of Conflict.