"If there’s a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things. The powers-that-be can break up any big thing they want. They can corrupt it or co-opt it from the inside, or they can attack it from the outside. But what are they going to do about 10 million little things? They break up two of them, and three more like them spring up!"
- Pete Seeger, in YES! Magazine

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Provide TOUCH to the elderly

The project:
Lotion Grandma's back, and sit close, hold her hand, and wrap my arms around her shoulders.

We visited Grandma for a little over 3 hours today, providing close companionship throughout.

Why bother?
Humans are social creatures, and like the apes and elephants, thrive on touch (with few exceptions). I don't mean touch by strangers, interference with personal space per se. But a pat by a loved one, a back scratch, a squeeze by a friend or family member is nearly always a spirit-lifting occasion. It must be heart-breaking, then, to grow old alone with no one to provide that touch.

Grandma has been living on her own since Grandpa's death several years ago. They were a pretty affectionate couple, and I know she misses someone sharing her personal space. Grandma has also developed some pretty dry skin in the past decade. At 93, it's tough to reach some of those places, and for any of us, reaching mid-back is just about impossible. I've lotioned her back for her a couple of times this year. Today, I offered up the service again. OH, how thankful she was.

We got to talking about massage, and we ended up making appointments for next week. Hot tub, massage and lunch with a happenin', hoppin' 93-year-old Grandma - what a hoot! I can hardly wait to share the joy with her!

Worth it?
Yes! If you haven't spent time with your grandparents lately, PLEASE DO! They have so much to share, and usually love a visit, a hug, and maybe even a back rub.

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