... some Good Information to Know" presented by Brian Porter, Living Assistance Services
”Touch comes before sight, before speech.
It is the first language, and the last,
and it always tells the Truth”
~ Margaret Atwood.
A real story two hundred years ago....French scientists spotted a creature resembling a human being running through the forests. Once captured, they determined that he was 11 years old and had run wild in the forests for much of his childhood. Originally, the child was believed to be an idiot; however, French physicians and psychiatrists eventually concluded he had been deprived of human physical touch, which had retarded his social and developmental capacities.
Physical contact distinguishes humans from many other animals. From a warm handshake or sympathetic hug to a congratulatory pat on the back, we have developed complex languages, cultures, and emotional expression through physical contact. But in a tech-saturated world, non-sexual human touch may be in danger of becoming rare, if not obsolete. Despite the benefits of digital advancement, it is vital to preserve human touch in order for us truly to thrive. (1)
The results of the Touch Test, which was initiated in the UK to discover more about this under-investigated sense, illuminated clearly the importance of touch for many of us. It was an on-line study commissioned by the Wellcome Collection in collaboration with BBC Radio 4; and, it ran from January to March, 2020, a week after lockdown began in the UK.. Almost 40,000 people from 112 different countries chose to take part. Study conclusions revealed more specifics about the importance of touch for many of us (2):
- Most people (72%) like being touched or touching other people, but not everyone does.
- More than half of people (54%) think they don’t have enough touch in their lives.
- More than half of people think they don’t have enough touch in their lives.
- The three most common words used to describe touch are: “comforting”, “warm” and “love.”
- Almost two thirds of people dislike being touched by a stranger.
- Four times as many women as men sleep better if they don’t touch their partner before they go to sleep.
- People who like interpersonal touch tend to have higher levels of well-being and lower levels of loneliness.
- Persons who like interpersonal touch tend to have higher levels of well-being and lower levels of loneliness.
Loneliness is a huge health risk that affects seniors living in Richmond Hill—in Canada today (3). So, that final Touch Test conclusion above is especially significant for caregivers and family members--for you too? It’s worth remembering that ‘interpersonal touch tends to facilitate lower levels of loneliness’ for your senior loved ones.
(1) The Kansas Health Care Association (KHCA). 8 Reasons Why We Need Human Touch More Than Ever, October, 2015.
(2) Hammond, Claudia. Nine things we learned from the world’s largest study of touch. BBC4 Radio.
(3) Closing the Gap Healthcare. Loneliness in Seniors: Understanding Its Impact and Ways to Help. October 9th, 2019.
For advice about seniors and care at home, please kindly contact Brian Porter, Director and Owner of Living Assistance Services (LAS), at 416.483.0070 (ofﬁce), 905.758.2486 (cell) or [email protected] and visit: www.laservices.ca