Understanding the Importance of Physical Touch in Your Elderly Care Journey during National Hug Holiday Week

Elderly Care in Manalapan NJ

Elderly Care in Manalapan NJSome people are far more willing to initiate and accept physical touch from people than others are. Sometimes described as being “touchy-feely”, these people may be inclined to hug, hold hands, touch arms and shoulders, cuddle, or simply be physically close to other people. Others, however, may maintain consistent distance from others, even those who they love, and may be uncomfortable with any form of physical contact. Whichever way your parent is, in the context of your elderly care journey it may be important for you to explore the possible benefits of engaging in more physical contact as a means of improving and supporting your care efforts. May 1 through 7 is National Hug Holiday Week. This week is set aside in addition to National Hugging Day, which is in January, as a time to celebrate all of the benefits of showing affection through touch.

There have been many studies into the benefits of regular and consistent touch in the human life. Even in the earliest phases of research into this subject a work by researcher Ashley Montagu outlined how important it is for people to get touch on a regular basis. He described the skin as being the most important organ in the human body, and the sense of touch as the only one that is crucial to ongoing survival and wellness. In contemporary studies scientific research has not only supported this assertion but found further benefits of touch. Some of these benefits include:

• The more touch a person receives, the less likely that person is to show violent behaviors throughout life

• Touch immediately creates an emotional response. This includes the releases of oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “love hormone”. This hormone creates a feeling of bonding and trust with the other person. In the context of your elderly care efforts this can be extremely beneficial

• The release of oxytocin also helps to ease pain and help a person cope better with pain and other unpleasant symptoms

• Touch calms stress and relieves strain on the cardiovascular system

• Regular touching is shown to strengthen the immune system and the cardiovascular system. This is particularly true of hugs. This not just an emotional response. The actual pressure on the sternum during a hug helps to regulate the production and release of white blood cells that strengthen and support the body

• Getting regular hugs from a loved one helps to lower blood pressure and heartrate

This is not to say that you should force physical touch on a person who is extremely uncomfortable with it. Finding ways throughout your care efforts to make contact with your parent, or taking the time to hug them when you see them, however, can make a tremendous difference in your care efforts. Through this touch you can encourage a stronger, more trusting relationship, which in turn can encourage greater cooperation and willingness. This makes your care efforts easier and more successful, and can minimize your own caregiver stress.



If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Manalapan, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Alpine Home Care. In PA call 888-743-0068 . In NJ call (855) 410-1404.

Tom Smith, President & CEO

Tom Smith, President & CEO

President and CEO at Alpine Home Care
Tom Smith is Alpine Home Care’s President and Chief Executive Officer with over 25 years of well-rounded strategic, operations and management experience at public and private healthcare companies in the following
areas – hospice and home health care, medical devices, medical equipment, infusion therapy and behavioral
health, in addition to positions at major health systems and large acute-care Integrated Delivery Networks
Tom Smith, President & CEO