They walked to church together, prayed together, raised a family together, grew old together, laughed, cried, and had fun together. So what happens after a spouse dies?
I know many seniors who live alone and miss the simple act of touch(ing) on a daily basis. I read, senior citizens receive the least amount of touching than any other group.
Touch is perhaps the most powerful sense of all. Hugging, holding hands, and other physical gestures have the potential to ease your mind, make you feel less isolated and can reduce stress and anxiety. As we age, touch continues to be an important gesture, no matter how old you are.
Who doesn’t love a back rub, holding hands, having someone comb your hair, applying lotion to your arms, legs and feet, or feeling a warm embrace? Even a pat on the back can make someone feel wonderful.
A hand on hand is a basic human need. It is as essential as food, water, or air. Feelings of affection can make a big difference, whether a wink, a handshake or an encouraging smile. It tells a loved one they are valued, it can be calming; and experts suggest, it can act as pain relief by meeting the needs of the heart.
My Mother wasn’t a person who enjoyed giving or getting hugs, but from a young age, I demanded these: she would tense up like I was exacting a punishment. Every now and then my Mother’s home support person, would lean over and give my Mother a hug. The first time, I was blown away and waited for her reaction. Mother smiled and patted her hand, I was altogether delighted, mortified and angry.
The sense of emotional touch strengthens our bonds and also our relationships. It is said, verbal bonds facilitate this, physical communication confirms it, because touching someone often conveys a message in a way words cannot. Studies suggest that insignificant touches result in bigger tips for waitresses, and strangers are more likely to help if a touch accompanies a request, as long as it's proper, of course.
A hug or appropriate touching can have a powerful impact on the human psyche. It makes us feel happiness, joy, and internally it doesn’t matter if you’re the one being touched or the one relating in this manner. It triggers a release of neuro-hormones which can calm our mind, and help ease sadness, tension, and anxieties when you connect with others. The benefits of hugging include measures of: relaxing the body, increased bonding, relief of depression, elevation of mood, easing stress, improving heart rate, and boosting of your immune system.
Mary B., a long-time friend and neighbour growing up, stopped me, to say how much she and others enjoy reading my articles in The Standard. Then she leaned over and kissed my cheek. Unknown to her, my day had been a difficult one, and she absolutely made it so much better. Our words and actions can be a powerful tool to cheer and encourage someone when we are feeling down.
Proverbs 25:11 tells us, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver, is a word spoken in the right circumstances” by offering words and a gentle touch we can help discouraged people face their present, and future, with courage and a positive outlook.
There is a great deal of healing in a touch. Humans are wired so hugs make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Have you ever wondered why Jesus often reached out and touched people who were considered outcasts and sinners? Many seniors lose the option of daily contact with friends and family, and disabilities or depression may prevent them from reaching out to others, but remember a simple hug could prevent or even reverse this despair, and allow them to live a fuller and happier life.
Life is full of all kinds of strange and wondrous things.
On a visit to my doctor, I discovered the hard callous on my heal was actually a plantar wart! You get them when a virus enters your body through broken skin. A plantar wart is a rough, spongy surface and it can only be found on the soles of your feet. Clustered plantar warts are called mosaic warts. Some people mistakenly think plantar warts are malignant, in fact they are not harmful but can cause irritation or minor pain, depending on their location. A person's risk of getting a wart varies and those with a weakened immune system are more susceptible.
I learned warts grow in the epidermis, the upper skin layer. A typical wart has a raised, rough surface. I know warts are generally harmless and do disappear over time, but for me they're unsightly. I have one on the sole of my foot, and it makes walking and exercise even more painful, plus I find it extra challenging with a bad knee!
Getting rid of warts can also be a challenge, but fortunately, the most effective treatments are the least invasive. Upon closer inspection, the center of my wart had dark flecks, looking like seeds. I discovered these are capillaries that supply the wart with blood. Since I cannot even bring up my knee to see this wart, my husband has been caring for them diligently.
Warts occur when skin cells grow faster than normal, because they are infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV). I read, all of us can come into contact with HPV repeatedly, when we shake hands, touch a doorknob, as it is spread through skin-to-skin contact, on surfaces in places like a locker room, or shower floors, but only few develop warts. Yet, approximately 70% of the population has this virus, and science can't explain why.
There are many folk remedies for treating warts, and there is no single treatment that works every single time. I will mention the top three.
1) Applying a topical solution of salicylic acid. They suggest soaking your foot/feet for 10 to 15 minutes a few times a day, then filing away the dead warty skin with a pumice stone, and applying the salicylic acid ointment, lotion or gel. This is the main ingredient in aspirin and this will cause the wart to gradually peel off, if this treatment is continued for approximately 12 weeks.
2) The second option is freezing, also called cryotherapy. A clinician swabs or sprays liquid nitrogen onto the wart and around the surrounding area. The extreme cold, will burn the skin, causing pain, redness, and usually leaves a blister. Getting rid of a wart(s) with this method usually takes three or four treatments, one every two to three weeks.
3) Duct Tape! This is the option we are presently using, since my husband is such a handy man, and we have dozens of rolls, rolling around. This is low risk, and a low tech approach I could appreciate, and besides what harm will it do until my specialist appointment!? Not that I am a coward, well perhaps just a little, and besides, results showed duct tape is about 45% more effective than cryotherapy.
Martin put duct tape over the surrounding wart area and changed it every three days after a soak, always sterilizing the tools (tweezers etc.). After the dark specks appeared, which look like seeds, he removed patches of dead skin, as he debrided the area he applied polysporin into the large craters which had developed, then he reapplied new duct tape. We have been following this regimen for almost two weeks and there is such a marked improvement, as new skin growth has appeared over the craters. They are almost completely gone after just 20 days of treatment. Why duct tape works isn't clear, perhaps it may deprive the wart of oxygen, or perhaps dead skin and viral particles are being removed along with the tape?
Plantar wart prevention: Wash your hands, wear shower shoes whenever using a public pool, wash your feet thoroughly with a disinfectant soap, keep hands and feet dry to prevent present warts from spreading. Don't touch someone else's wart and don't pick at your own! When getting a pedicure make sure your pedicurist doesn't share her tools with other people before cleaning. (I had a pedicure where she used a knife and made my foot bleed so bad. I wonder if this is how and where my wart developed?). And always consult your family doctor or dermatologist as some skin cancers resemble warts at first. Be suspicious of any wart that bleeds or grows quickly.