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The Soothing Power of Touch

The Soothing Power of Touch

   Our skin is our largest sensory organ.

Touch is the most intimate of the senses. Exposure to tactile variation is excellent stimulation for the skin, the nervous system and the brain. This can be critically important in calming and improving the daily life of anyone with dementia or other cognitive impairment.

As reported by psychiatrists specializing in old age; most people with dementia at some point in their illness develop psychiatric symptoms or behavioral disturbances. They are frightening for patients and their caregivers; constitute a management problem for psychiatrists, doctors, and geriatricians; and act as a trigger for admission to institutional care. After excluding treatable causes, behavioral management is the recommended first line intervention. 

Our sense of touch opens the world to us and allows us experiences essential to our daily lives. This is how we gather information about our surroundings and connect to others. A hand shake, a pat on the back, a kiss. Touch is the portal between our outer and inner selves, between our bodies and the outside world.  When we feel something, we are discerning and garnering information: warm or cold, soft or hard, wet or dry, and this is only the beginning. Texture, pliability, maneuverability You instinctively use your fingers and hand to explore these sensations.

Patting, stroking, twisting folding all simple actions can be soothing for both mind and body bringing comfort to the cared for and the caregiver alike.


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