The power of human touch can have a large impact on an elderly person’s health and wellness.
For millions of years, humans have used touch to communicate and bond. From holding a baby to hugging to stroking an elderly person’s hand, touch is therapeutic for every age group. When a touch is withheld due to increased isolation and fewer opportunities, it can trigger poor mental health, physical sickness, and chronic health problems.
Why is Touch Important?
The skin on the human body is made up of millions of nerves that communicate to the brain about what’s going on. Touch releases hormones that help the body know how to feel. For example, when seniors are touched regularly such as with frequent hugs, they have higher levels of oxytocin in their body. This hormone does many good things like lowers stress hormone levels, reduces blood pressure, raises the tolerance for pain and brightens the mood. Regular touch also affects an elderly person’s mind by reducing the risk of depression and anxiety, as well.
Numerous studies have been done on the effects of touch deprived seniors. The results of touch deprivation are an increase in health problems, more frequent doctor visits, less sleep and little relief from pain and aches. Elderly adults are increasingly vulnerable to living conditions where they are touch deprived
How Do Seniors Become Touch Deprived?
Touch deprivation is not as common in younger adults but with age and isolation, it becomes a big problem with a lot of elderly adults. There are usually several different factors that contribute to why seniors develop touch deprivation. One of the most common reasons is that seniors are more likely to live alone, with only infrequent visits from elder care aides and family members. Those who live alone won’t experience much therapeutic touching each day.
Similarly, the people they are close to emotionally may be far away physically. For example, their spouse and close friends might have already passed away and their other family members live in different cities or states. Many seniors become isolated due to physical limitations like loss of driving, chronic illness, bedridden status and more. All these factors can contribute to elderly adults becoming touch deprived.
How Can Family Caregivers Help?
Family caregivers have the responsibility to make sure their elderly parent has food, clothing and shelter. Medical needs are just as important, but most people don’t realize how critical regular touch is to seniors. Family caregivers can spend time with their loved one and offer hugs, hold hands and more. They can also inform other family members, neighbors, elder care assistants and more to provide a few extra hugs when they can. Seniors will be happier and healthier when they are on the receiving end of gentle, therapeutic touches.
Are you or a loved one considering Home Care in Maumelle, AR? First Choice Senior Care can help. Serving all of Little Rock and Central Arkansas.
Please call and talk to our caring staff today. (501) 916-9307
Kayla believes in advocating for and educating seniors and their families on a variety of topics and issues that impact them.Reflecting on the need for an independent home care provider interested in quality over quantity, she chased her dream of building her own company that would make a significant difference in the lives of seniors, providing a much-needed service in her own local community.
Kayla holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Arkansas State University, is licensed by the state of Arkansas as a Long-Term Care Administrator, and is a Certified Senior Adviser.
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