AARP Expert

Difficult behaviors: soothing agitation with gentle touch

This is a tricky one, but if well received the first time by a care recipient, it can be a go-to solution sometimes.


Depending on the person and the mood or behavior, see if you can find a way to soothe your person with touch. Offer to comb or brush the hair (this even works with men who have very little hair). Offer to massage the hands with lotion or baby oil or massage oil, especially some substance that has a nice relaxing aroma. And best of all but trickiest at first, offer to give a foot massage. With permission, take off shoes and socks, place the feet or one foot at a time on a pillow covered with a towel, and rub the feed gently with oil. Massage the top of the foot, carefully between the toes, the heel, the arch and ball of the foot. Massage away the stress. The skin is a marvelous source of pleasure and sensation, and even a brief rubbing can provide a calming, soothing effect 

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