Chicago’s Northshore will have been on lock down for a whole year, come March 2021. Quarantine has left us feeling isolated and alone. In these times of social distancing and isolation, the smallest interaction could make a huge impact. It’s been a long year without any hugs, kisses, or holding hands and for some of us it feels we will spend a lifetime alone.
Without human touch and interaction we experience the emergence of negative feelings, increased anxiety, distrust of caregivers, feelings of isolation and a decrease in the senses. For most, touch communicates a sense of trust and reassurance. Elder Care Alliance identifies, “for individuals with dementia, human touch plays an important role in promoting overall well-being”. Massage could be the answer.
Massage is now being implemented as a type of non-medical therapy. A brief 5 minute hand massage can induce relaxation which has an effect on lowering the stress level inducing hormone, cortisol, and increases serotonin, which reduces anxiety and brings on a calm disposition. This short expression of care can reduce agitation for up to an hour. In addition, a foot massage can produce feelings of deep relaxation, comfort, support and promote sleep. One study’s results found that a daily foot massage for 2 weeks decreased agitation and outbursts for up to 2 weeks.
It’s more important now more than ever to comfort each other as we crave that intimate interaction. So wash your hands, grab some lotion and take a few moments to let your loved one know you’re there and you care.
We are not alone.