From the moment we are born, physical touch plays a critical role in our lives. People in all stages of life gain great emotional and physical benefits from human touch. Research conducted by the University of Miami’s Touch Research Institute demonstrated that human touch reduces pain sensations, improves breathing, lowers blood pressure, reduces glucose levels, enhances immune function and stimulates growth in babies. The simple act of physical touch also boosts endorphin and cortisone levels and produces a feeling of contentment and well-being.
Many Seniors Miss Out on the Benefits of Touch
Of all age groups, senior adults are the least likely to be touched. Several factors could account for the lack of interaction. Sadly, a society obsessed with physical beauty may deem a senior’s aging skin unattractive and untouchable. Elderly adults are also more likely to live alone and away from their families. Many have lost their spouses or lifelong friends. Disabilities may prevent many seniors from leaving their homes to socialize with others. Although touch is absent from many seniors’ lives, people in this age group are more open to both giving and receiving touch than many others.
Touch: Important from Cradle to Grave
Touch is especially important to the aging population. Humans develop an increased need for nurturing and physical contact as they age. Because it has a direct healing influence on the body, touch has the potential to help manage or even prevent symptoms of common geriatric medical conditions. It also supports and stimulates cognitive processes including those affected by dementia such as memory and social skills, and it alleviates depression and anxiety. Many caregivers would venture to say that elderly adults cannot live without touch. With no family or friends to provide touch, many seniors depend solely on healthcare professionals.
Providence Care Understands the Need for Touch
Finding ways to increase human touch between seniors and those around them is a worthy goal. At Providence Care, we understand the therapeutic value of touch for seniors, and we are committed to both providing it directly and creating an atmosphere conducive to it. Our unique ROSE program includes sensory stimulation and a focus on positive interaction that combats lack of physical touch with tactile activities, social interaction and caring hugs. Simply touching a senior can form a healing bond that conveys trust, hope and reassurance. Our caregivers utilize touch daily to improve the lives of our clients and those who love them.