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Hugs for Seniors

Hugs for Seniors

When your body is stressed, you are more susceptible to becoming sick because higher cortisol (the stress hormone) levels can suppress your immune system. Hugs—as an indicator of social support but also because it involves touch—might pack a flu-fighting punch. Studies have shown that strong social ties can protect against stress, anxiety and depression, which in turn can help prevent or decrease illness.

A hug, pat on the shoulder and other forms of physical touch offer many health benefits, especially for seniors, who often get touched less often. Studies indicate that therapeutic touch can ease pain, improve sleep, ease anxiety and calm agitation in older adults with dementia. Physical touch can also help lower heart rate and improve blood flow, increase alertness, and ease the stress of interpersonal conflicts.

Unfortunately seniors receive the least touching of any age group. Researchers assert that the reason may be that many older adults live alone and may be socially isolated. Touch is especially important for older adults, who may be suffering from lack of social interaction, depression and chronic illness. We know how strong the link is between emotions and the immune system.

At Private Home Care, we integrate this important element in our care. Whether it be holding someone’s hand, a loving hug, brushing hair, or a gentle pat on the back can be very healing and comforting for seniors because they do not feel isolated and alone. The power of therapeutic touch is strong and can help physical and emotional healing. Our motto is ‘Compassion is at the Heart of Our Care’. This inspires us to take the very best care of your loved ones, which of course includes hugs to nurture the basic human need for touch and social connection.

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