16th Annual Caregiver Resource Fair, Dinner, and Town Hall Meeting | November 12, 2018
Save the Date!
The 16th Annual Caregiver Resource Fair, Dinner and Town Hall Meeting is November 12, 2018.
The event will be held at the Florian Gardens, 2340 Lorch Ave, Eau Claire.
Please pre-register by November 5, 2018 by calling the Aging & Disability Resource Center at (715) 839-4735 or online at www.adrcevents.org.
Download the flyer here
Power of Touch in Memory Loss
Those who care for loved ones with memory loss often become frustrated because they can no longer find ways to connect with their loved one. However, one method that is easy, free, environmentally friendly and tends to evoke wonderful responses in those in even the latest stages of dementia is the power of touch.
Touching someone in a loving manner is something that caregivers may not even realize has slipped through the cracks, especially when they are in the throes of providing daily hands-on care. However, the gentle stroke of a loved ones cheek or squeeze of an embrace can have astounding effects on those we love.
In fact, human touch has been shown to boost mood, reduce stress, enhance attentiveness, improve immune function and lessen the feeling of pain. Dr. David Bresler, Ph.D. a founder and former director of UCLA's Pain Control Clinic tells of a significant reduction in pain in a female patient after she was prescribed to receive four hugs a day from her husband.
This response may be because our bodies naturally respond to affection by releasing a hormone called Oxytocin. Oxytocin makes us feel good, appreciated and close to those giving the affection. It also helps to build trust, which is especially important for caregivers of those with memory loss. While their ability to recognize the face or recall the name of their caregiver may come and go, their ability to appreciate the touch or feel of their loved ones hands may remain throughout much of the disease process.
According to Naomi Feil, Executive Director of the Validation Training Institute the power of Anchored Touch can be extremely useful for caregivers whose loved one is in the later stages of memory loss. Below are some Anchored Touch techniques:
Motherly Touch - place your hand with your palm up on your loved one's upper cheek, using the fingertips caress lightly in a circular motion. This stimulates the feeling of being mothered and is beneficial for those with anxiety.
Fatherly Touch - place your hand on the back of your loved one's head with the palm facing the back of their head and caress using a moderate amount of pressure. This stimulates the feeling of a fatherly relationship and can be helpful for those who feel abandoned.
Spousal Touch - using the backside of your hand, align your little finger with your loved one's earlobe with your palms facing up. Then gently stroke down the sides of your loved one's cheek, chin and neck using both hands simultaneously. This invokes a loving feeling of being connected with a spouse or significant other.
Child Touch - place your hands on the back of your loved one's neck, using cupped fingers and caress in a circular motion. This brings forth feelings of a child giving them a caress or a hug and is calming for those who long for their children.
Comrade Touch - take both hands and place them on top of your loved one's shoulders so fingers hang over the upper back, using moderate pressure caress in a rubbing motion. This helps stimulate the feeling of being with a friend and builds trust.
Touching may not be a miracle cure. However, imagine what could happen if we all took the daily hug prescription given by Family Therapist, Virginia Satir of four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance and twelve hugs a day for growth. It might just be the key we need to maintain our connections with our loved ones, while staying healthy and stress free.