The Power of Touch as we age is even more relevant

The Power of Touch as we age is even more relevant

Life has many cycles. Within this there are ironies. One such irony is that as we get older we become less sensitive to touch, yet, like young children, we may be the ones who need it the most?
Let’s consider “touch” as a communication channel and put in the context of the elderly. As we all get older we loose accuracy in our senses..they simply wear out. We need to supplement this loss with glasses and hearing aids. Our sense of smell and taste diminishes too. From the age of twenty, the sensory pads in our fingers (i.e. the nerve endings in our skin) are lost at the rate of 1 % per year. This is probably imperceptible to most of us but most of us still feel the benefits of a hug.

For many years touch in nursing has been recognised as important.Keith Carlson, RN, states:

“From an encouraging hand on a shoulder to a cool hand on a feverish forehead, touch is a hallmark of caring, healing, and compassion. Even as technology becomes more central to health care, skin-to-skin contact is an art that must remain a central tenet of nursing care.”

However, especially in the care sector how often are carers under pressure to be as time efficient as possible? It is often impossible to reassuringly squeeze an anxious resident’s hand let alone provide a calming, reassuring, nurturing, neck, back, hand or foot massage. Touch is crucial, it brings humanity and compassion to caring for everyone but more especially for Seniors in our society.

Having run a very successful Massage Therapy service for our Outsidethebox Makeup and Skincare private clients, we believe our massage service could provide tangible benefits for Private Care and Nursing Homes too.

For Staff: 
This sector of workers often experience back pain and suffer from emotional stress both of which can be helped by massage. The Benefits of Massage include the reduction of days lost from sickness and absenteeism. Morale and motivation is enhanced. The release of endorphins promotes positive thinking and a sense of wellbeing whilst revitalising and refreshing a weary, sometimes overwhelmed member of staff.

For Residents:
In this group the benefits are on a more emotional as well as physical level.Touch lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol and increases the amount of oxytocin, a neurochemical that promotes trust and cooperation. A warm touch can make others feel valued and cared for and lessen the feelings of discomfort and stress. Even a short but effective hand massage can encourage a relaxation response in the brain, decreasing levels of cortisol (a stress hormone). This is especially important in older people. Massage can also increase the levels of serotonin in the body. This is a neurochemical which enhances feelings of calm and relaxation.Endorphins are also released and so if people are not able to remember the actual activity they remember it makes them feel happy. Dementia patients often display anger or frustration and
soothing massage strokes and comforting touch can help create a sense of trust.

Whilst complementary massage for Seniors will not rejuvenate them or cure them of illnesses, it brings physical and psychological benefits which could help make their lives much more comfortable. Improved morale and motivation for Staff is well documented following regular weekly 10 to 15 minute massage sessions due to the release of endorphins promoting positive thinking and a sense of wellbeing, revitalising sluggish employees! As competition between homes increases these days with more Seniors being encouraged to stay in their own homes as long as possible by cash strapped authorities, evidence of effective activities from the Home Matron or Activities Co-ordinator can go a long way in the inspection stakes. A Group Massage Therapy session for example can cost effectively ensure more residents have interaction with someone other than a paid carer attending to them.

If you would like a FREE Taster Session..please get in touch?

Call Jules: 01934 823820
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