The Incredible Benefits of Hugs for Seniors

The Incredible Benefits of Hugs for Seniors
A woman who understands the benefits of hugs for seniors hugs her elderly father as they enjoy the great outdoors together.

The benefits of hugs for seniors may surprise you!

Remember during the height of the pandemic, when social distancing was the norm and we needed to be satisfied with virtual visits? One of the most basic aspects of being a human – physical touch – was put aside in order to protect us all from harm.

However, we promptly discovered that cutting out physical contact with each other caused a great deal of harm in and of itself. It is especially essential for older adults who have experienced isolation or loneliness to feel connected to those they love, and there is an easy but highly beneficial solution: hugs.

Research has uncovered the following incredible health benefits of hugs for seniors:

• Regulation of the production of white blood cells

Improved sleep and glucose metabolism

• A strengthened immune system

• Reduced stress

• Improved circulation within the body

• A regulated heart rate and lower blood pressure

• A boost in positive emotions, such as happiness, contentment, and security

• Decreased pain

• Fewer negative emotions, such as loneliness and anger

One senior care facility in New York tested the benefits of hugs for seniors with a program called “Embraceable You.” This voluntary program drew 200 participants who rated their current degree of satisfaction with their wellbeing and overall health. In addition, they noted the level of casual touch experienced in their lives. Trained “hug ambassadors” were brought in to administer appropriate types of touch, while residents were given buttons to wear if they were interested in taking part in the hug experiment.

Throughout the study, residents were given a token for every hug they received. In a short time, residents were seeking out huggers, and by the end of the first week, they had accumulated nearly 1,400 hugs.

At the conclusion of the study, the participants were surveyed and separated into two categories: low contact (a couple of instances of physical contact per day) and high contact (more than three instances daily). The high contact participants overwhelmingly noted higher degrees of satisfaction in the following areas:

• Able to concentrate well (93%)

• Sleeping well (71%)

• Not feeling hopeless or depressed (97%)

• Interest in doing things (88%)

• Feeling energetic (66%)

It just goes to show what an incredible difference such a seemingly insignificant display of affection can make for the aging adults in your life.

Contact Hired Hands Homecare at (866) 940-4343 to find out more methods to improve older adult health, and how our in-home care can make a difference in the life of someone you love in Novato, Santa Rosa, Napa, or throughout the Bay Area.

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