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Posted by: Barbara Goldschmidt
Date: Feb/14/2013
Tags: Stories, dementia, mindful touch

The Subtle Side of Love

Sometimes small change has great value. Especially when communicating subtle signs of affection with a partner who is no longer verbal. Then we look to body language, posture, and the light in one’s eyes for signs of connection. Here is one example.

Participants in a caregivers group learned to provide a hand massage for loved ones with dementia. At the start of the session the following week, they recounted the experiences they had when they shared comforting touch with loved ones.  One woman caring for her husband at home told us that she had been inspired to try a bit of the massage she had learned; mostly the approach reminded her to slow down and remember her fondness for her husband. Touch becomes more meaningful when you take your time and focus on the act of providing gentle touch; then it is not something that happens randomly but is an activity you do with intention.

The woman’s husband was in a later stage of dementia. Nothing much seemed to happen when she shared the focused use of touch she had learned. But later, when they got into bed for the night, her husband didn’t turn his back to her, as he usually did. He turned and faced her, and put his hand on her arm.  And with that simple gesture he also touched her heart.