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The Power of Human Touch in Caring for Alzheimer’s Patients
Looking after a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s can be hard and overwhelming. Since the disease is not curable, the treatment mainly involves maintaining a high quality of life. Although you might be doing your best, at times you can feel that your efforts are not making much difference. But, there is this one therapy that can make a huge difference in the well-being of Alzheimer’s patients and that is touch. The ability of human touch has been revealed in a number of studies. It is the sense that fetus and infants acquire. Contrary to other people’s thinking, touch becomes more powerful and important as people grow older. Here is how touch can impact on Alzheimer’s patients.
A hug from a loved one can put one on a happy mood and even protect him or her from infections. According to some research, hugging can effectively prevent illness in stressed people. Some of the physical health benefits associated with the power of touch include Improved pain, decreased blood pressure and lowered hear rates.
Communication channels can easily open through the power of touch. One of the major challenge suffered by Alzheimer’s patients is the inability to connect with other people. With the continuous fading of their memories and language ability, communication slowly becomes very hard. When it comes to communication, touch is said to be one of the best tools. It is an efficient channel for individuals to communicate their feelings.
Touch helps to ease the minds of people suffering from depression and anxiety. People living with Alzheimer’s go through major changes in their lifestyle. This means that they end up relying on the people close to them to do their basic duties. They, therefore, end with a feeling of depression and anxiety. One study was once conducted to find out the relationship between agitated behavior in individuals living with Alzheimer’s and regular therapeutic touch. It was found that the patients who got frequent touch therapy were less agitated compared to other patients who did not. It may be because a touch produces oxytocin which a hormone associated with a feeling of happiness and trust. Specifically, massage has also been found to reduce stress symptoms in people.
When it comes to Alzheimer’s care, there are many activities that involve touch. Such include tying shoes, cleaning up and even getting dressed. Above all, offering a meaningful touch leads to a strong connection. In this case, you can choose to hug, massage, offer beauty treatments, touch the arms or ensure hand contact. But before providing this service, be mindful of the boundaries and get consent from your loved one.