Building on the Human Connection


Looking for an escape from everyday stresses, even if it’s just for a moment? There are things that are easy, quick and free that we use at SeniorCare on a daily basis to transform how we look at and feel about a particular moment in time. If you’re finding life stretching you too thin, you might find temporary-to-long-lasting relief from one or two simple actions. Curious what these might be? They are the simple-yet-powerful actions of giving a smile and receiving touch from another human being.

Basic Human Needs

It can be argued that the human desire to feel the connections achieved through smiling and touch are just as important as the need for food, drink and a safe place to rest our head. We work to build relationships between residents and Care Specialists so that connection comes naturally in ways that are genuine. Numerous studies back this up, including a 30-year study from the University of California, Berkeley that examined the power and predictive qualities of a smile. Through the measurement of a smile, the Berkeley researchers had the ability to predict the success of a marriage, level of achievement on standardized tests and perhaps the most important, the long-term happiness and general well-being of an individual.  Isolation and depression are so prevalent in the larger institutional facilities where residents rarely come out of their rooms. As a result, basic human needs must be met to encourage the quality of life needed to create moments of joy and purpose on a daily basis.

Connection through the Senses

Physical touch that occurs outside the realm of natural care like shaking hands or assisting with an activity can also provide great health benefits including decreased pain, lower cortisol (stress-induced) levels, lower blood pressure and lower heart rates. Touch can also be effective in calming our residents with dementia and Alzheimer’s. The level of touch needed can be a simple as rubbing hand lotion into hands after washing, having someone comb or brush the hair, or enjoying the gentle touch of a hand during a manicure. Each activity provides an important element of gentle, physical touch and imparts a feeling of connection or bonding between two individuals. During the cold winter months, these touch-related benefits also serve to increase circulation in the parts of the body (toes and fingers) that never seem to get warm despite keeping the houses warm and cozy.

We’ve also incorporated massage into our music therapy program after seeing the relaxation benefits from even the simplest touch or warm soak. Residents love to be pampered and just a little lotion and a loving touch seem to always do the trick!

Putting Theory into Practice

While it’s well and good to have the information, it’s worth little if it’s not put into practice on a regular rotation. At SeniorCare Homes we understand these touch opportunities help our residents in a number of ways from establishing a bond between resident and caretaker, creating a level of well-being, and generating a feeling of family and community within each Memory Home. Throughout the month, these planned activities include backrubs, hand rubs, shoulder massages, manicures and visits for hair styling. We’ve even designated Monday as Hug Monday. When you think about it, whose Monday couldn’t be brightened if it started with a hug? To learn more about the SeniorCare Homes advantage, contact us today!

SeniorCare Homes in Overland Park and Leawood, Kansas, offer the most comfortable and stable assisted living environment to seniors with dementia, memory loss, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Phone (913) 236-0036 to learn more about neighborhood living for the memory impaired.