• Sarah O'Brien

Grandparents Day and wellbeing

We know that that touch is important to our wellbeing, but as Senss co-founder Sarah found out over the recent lockdown, being a grandparent and being denied those first cuddles had an enormous impact. To find out more the team at Senss talked with Psychologist, Therapist and Founder of SĒING, Sarah Waite who herself had grandparents and great uncles and aunts she was longing to hug. She confirms that touch is vital and hand and arm massage can form part of loving family rituals when we are able to spend time together with older loved ones:

It’s well documented that hugs, kisses, and physical closeness, have a positive impact on our psychological and physical health. This year has shown us how fundamental this is, on a scale we have never experienced before." - Sarah Waite

Grandparents Day is on Sunday 4th October, and there has never been a time when we have been so aware of what our grandparents have been missing this year, and what we have missed by not spending time with them.

As a new grandmother myself I ached to give my new grand-daughter cuddles during lockdown, and waving from the front door did nothing to establish that bond that I so much wanted to forge from the outset with our newest family member. It brought home to me at a personal level just what so many older grandparents have been missing, as many will already have lost 6+ months of their grandchildren’s lives

When a grandparent has been living in a Care Home or shielding at home there has been an absence of touch and contact that is vital to wellbeing. Psychologist and Therapist Sarah Waite has personal experience of the restrictions Covid-19 put on her own family. She told us that it is well documented that hugs, kisses and physical closeness have a positive impact on our psychological and physical health, and this year in particular has shown us how fundamental this is, on a scale never experienced before.

In Sarah Waite's own family, the lack of physical contact has had a noticeable impact on her grandparents’ moods, dementia, and experience of pain. In recent months, they had called their loved ones two to four times a day, dropped off treats and groceries, waved (and even danced) from the car park… but she felt that nothing replaces seeing and touching your loved ones in person. Touch is such an important human need, medicine, and language of love.

I have been literally aching to hug and touch my 98 year old Grandma, Great Aunt and Uncle. After weeks and weeks of lockdown, When I was permitted to visit, haircuts, manicures, and hand massages, have become loving, new family rituals. While I’m no hairstylist, manicurist, or masseur, they're excuses to get close and affectionate, and create special family moments. To say ‘I love you’ with more than words, so they feel it. It's tangible. We’re closer than ever.” - Sarah Waite

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