Valentine’s Day is few days away and we are thinking of ways to show our love and appreciation to our aging loved ones.

We can send them cards or flowers or call them briefly. Our observation is that perhaps what they may need the most is some TLC (tender loving care), or what we call TLT (tender loving touch) — a personal visit with a long hug, a warm touch, time spent together, and a meaningful conversation. The cards are nice, so are the chocolates and flowers, but they could never replace TLT, which will do wonders for Mom’s and Dad’s health and well being.

In 2014, about 28% (12.5 million) of all noninstitutionalized older persons lived alone (8.8 million women, 3.8 million men) and the proportion living alone increases with advanced age [1]. This means that unless they have a Caregiver, the Elderly spend a lot of their time alone. This Valentine’s Day too many Seniors will probably be alone, deprived of much needed TLT.

In his article “The Power of a Simple Touch as a Natural Anti-Depressant”, Elisha Goldstein PhD argues that “there is real biological power in the simple act of a hug. It can melt away the stress from a day. It can lend itself to repairing emotional wounds. A hug has the power to release Oxytocin, which sets us up to feel more balanced and soothed the moment we do it.” [2].

Here is what chocolates could never do, but what TLT can do for your aging loved one’s emotional and physical health:

  • promote relaxation 
  • reduce emotional pain and anxiety
  • improve sleep quality
  • assist in relieving chronic conditions
  • assist in controlling hypertension and diabetes
  • lessen headache and pain associated with arthritis

When visiting with Mom and Dad, greet them with a long warm hug. While sitting at the table, put your hands over theirs. Men are are usually more proud and perhaps more insecure, so Dad may not admit, but he will derive just as much pleasure for that touch as Mom will.

After a meal, if physically possible, ask Mom and Dad for a walk. While walking, hold your parents’ hands or arms.

Do not underestimate the importance of a human touch for your aging parent. Human touch is a powerful medicine and has zero negative side effects. This Valentine’s Day (but not only on that day) surprise Mom and Dad with some TLT.

Happy Valentine’s Day… To Their and Your Health!

With love for the Elderly…


  1. Administration on Aging, Administration for Community Living. Department of Health and Human Services. A Profile of Older Americans: 2014. Web. 9 Feb. 2016. http://www.aoa.acl.gov/aging_statistics/profile/2014/docs/2014-Profile.pdf>.
  2. The Power of a Simple Touch as a Natural Anti-Depressant. Elisha Goldstein. Mindful. 26 Jan. 2015. Web. 9 Feb. 2016. <http://www.mindful.org/the-power-of-a-simple-hug-as-a-natural-antidepressant/>.

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Olena L.