As we age, we often become more isolated. Many senior adults lose their husband or wife after decades of marriage; their adult children may be busy with work and children; illness and mobility issues can stand in the way of longtime activities or hobbies shared with others.
With those changes, the aging adult can experience a loss of human touch. While that may seem a minor factor, it really isn’t – people isolated from others experience more loneliness, depression, and greater loss of independence.
Touch becomes more important for many elderly people. Visit a long-term care facility and you may notice women in their 80s and 90s holding hands like young schoolgirls. Notice how an elderly person will stroke a soft blanket or a pet’s silky fur.
When you visit your loved one, notice how they react to your touch. Beyond a hug when you arrive, how does he or she react when you hold their hand? How do they respond when you gently rub their shoulders or stoke their hair?
Your family member would probably never ask you to rub their shoulders, but may respond with gratitude or give you other feedback. Another idea is to ask if they would like lotion rubbed on dry legs, feet, hands or their back – places they may not be able to reach.
At FootPrints Home Care, our caregivers understand the importance of appropriate touch. We notice how, after helping a client bathe, they enjoy lotion rubbed on their back, or how someone with arthritic hands enjoys the warm touch of a caregiver’s hand. If we can help in your journey with an aging parent or loved one, we hope you’ll contact us and learn more about our mission to serve.