I Just Need A Hug – The Importance of Touch
After a couple of long, emotional weeks, as mum struggled with her health and I struggled with the hours and stress of caring – mum said “I need a hug! I just need to be held and hugged!”
We hugged tightly.
We are on this journey together. One which we know will end. When we don’t know.
We do know that there are many ups and lots of downs and struggles to go through. A hug. A simple hug between a mother and a daughter. A memorable moment in time.
It made me thing about touch. No matter our age we all love to have our hand held, our backs rubbed, or the feel of a warm embrace. How often to we go long periods without touch, without a healing, reassuring love.
Seniors who live alone often do not experience the simple act of touch on a daily basis. The reasons vary: spouses and close friends have passed away, families live in other states, or physical limitations may affect activity and contact with others.
In our busy lives – it is often easy to forget to show feelings of affection. For the elderly – and single people – a loving touch can make a big difference in their lives.
When we are with our partners – kids well and truly having left home, or as an elderly person living alone. How often do we stop – reach out and touch each other. Hug each other. So much care, support in that hug. It means, you are not alone. I feel your pain. I feel your struggle. I am here for you.
According to researchers at Ohio State University, hugging and physical touch becomes increasingly important with age. “The older you are, the more fragile you are physically, so contact becomes increasingly important for good health,” University psychologist Janice Kiecolt-Glaser told USA TODAY. Studies have shown that loneliness, particularly with age, can also increase stress and have adverse health effects. By hugging someone, we instantly feel closer to that person and decrease feelings of loneliness.
I feel uplifted each time I see my grand daughters and we hug. I will often reach out to my daughter and give her a hug. And my son – he is like hugging a big teddy bear. But I am reflecting, not enough. A hug also says I love you. I am proud of you.
A hug provides solace, safety and tenderness and an overall sense of wellbeing.
Touching someone you love often conveys a message in a way words cannot.
So although I am so busy, I must now remind myself, to reassure mum, by giving her a hug when I see her. It will help both of us in this journey with ups and downs, together.