I have the joy of working a few hours a week at a Premiere Athletic Club in my home town. We boast the largest number of members and feel we offer incredible service to our members. Yes, I am biased~ yet I believe many others share this feeling! 🙂
This past week I had a couple interesting “aha” moments that touched my heart in a fresh way. Let me explain: Last week during my shift two elderly gentlemen (who are wonderful and kind) walked by the Front Desk and let me know that one of the men had turned 92, so I offered to sing him a birthday song and he said he’d rather have a hug. I blushed and smiled as he went on his way.
Yesterday they passed by the front desk again during my shift and reminded me about the wanted hug. I smiled and as they walked out the door I felt a strong sense that I really should walk out those doors and give that birthday hug. Out the door I went, tapped the sweet man on the shoulder and hugged him tightly; with teary eyes he kissed me on the cheek.
I had a strong sense that he had possibly not been hugged in awhile.
At the tail end of my shift last night a man I have known for many years who is quiet and lives alone walked in. I was not behind the desk as I usually am, but rather I was walking around the front so I touched his shoulder, welcomed him by name and turned back to the task I had been working on. The gentleman walked over to me and genuinely said ” thank you for the touch.”
Perhaps this isn’t eye-opening to you but for me I was reminded how spoiled I am to be in a family that loves to hug; there is never a lack of affection between us. Yet, for so many who may not have an extended family or life partner, I imagine that there could be long gaps between hugs, hand holding, or just a gentle squeeze on the shoulder! Makes my heart so sad.
I recently read a blog that expressed some tangible reasons why we all need physical touch:
“The need for constant touches may fade as we grow older but the feelings certain touches invoke do not. As we grow older, touch is a communication that transcends age and time. No matter how old we are, we all love to have our hand held, our backs rubbed, or the feel of a warm embrace.
Seniors who live alone often do not experience the simple act of touch on a daily basis. The reasons vary: spouses and close friends have passed away, families live in other states, or physical limitations may affect activity and contact with others. Remember this when spending time with the senior in your life. A simple, encouraging arm around a shoulder or a momentary grasp of a hand conveys a message of affection. Feelings of affection can make a big difference in the lives of seniors.”
All of us know people who are alone, far from family, or disconnected from a loving community. Perhaps we can risk a kind hug, handshake, or squeeze on the arm –even if it takes us out of our comfort zone.
Someone may turn and say “thank you for the touch.”