Survival of the Caregiver

A Treasury of ABC Self-Help Words that Give Encouragement and Support to the Caregiver

"Every morning, when I woke up, I saw the sun rising over the ocean, and it helped me to start my day"

On the Sunny Side

Below is one of the ongoing articles that Janice Snyder wrote for the Beaches Leader newspaper

The Sense of Touch

Of all of our senses, where would you rate touch? Seeing certainly is very dear to us. Hearing enables us to communicate and listen to beautiful music. Tasting gives us great enjoyment, eating is such a yummy experience. Smelling can be pleasurable or distasteful depending on whether you are in the kitchen when the turkey’s roasting or out emptying the garbage. More importantly, smelling warns us if there is a fire burning somewhere. So some people might consider touch the least needed sense we have.

The sense of touch is under-rated and not fully utilized in many meaningful ways. Of course we know it can be a painful sensation, as when we accidentally touch something hot. However, touching can have very pleasant sensations and is a special way of communicating above and beyond words.

When we meet someone we shake their hand to be in touch more personally. When we rock a baby we hold the child against us in our arms, patting and stoking him to give a feeling of security and love. When we greet someone close to us we hug and kiss them because they have been away and we’ve missed their nearness. Dancing

Cheek to cheek is a warm and fun way to be in touch. Touching is the language of loving, and of caring.

The first time I had the difficult task of going to see a friend who had just lost someone very close, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t find any words to say. I felt very inadequate. When I saw her in her grief all I could do was hug her close to me. She held on for a long time and I…

There’s no mistaking the meaning of a close embrace.

Touch is important when someone is very ill too. I’ll never forget being in the hospital. It was the middle of the night, and I wasn’t expected to make it through that night. A nurse I never knew volunteered to sit with me for several hours until someone else could be stay with me. She never spoke but a few words because she new I was too weak to respond and needed to conserve my strength to battle the infection. But this loving stranger held my hand  all night. She made me feel secure and unafraid. She was my strength and my hold on life for that moment in time. She didn’t let go and neither did I. I knew her need had been met; touching had made it so. Words at a time like that can sometimes be less than helpful.

Some people have a difficult time responding to being touched. They pull away from an embrace, turn their cheek . They can’t handle that feeling. It makes them uncomfortable. It makes me sad.

We all need to communicate with touch, especially with our mates, our children, and our parents. It’s a good way to by-pass misunderstanding. It’s a good way to feel on the sunny side.

A couple of sunbeams:
  • When in doubt, reach out!
  • A hug a day keeps loneliness away.
A sunny thought: 
  • Have the good sense to use all your senses fully. They are gifts from God for the fulfillment of your being.
Other Sunny Side articles will be reprinted here on a monthly basis