New Civilization News: Global Touch Project with Elders #2    
 Global Touch Project with Elders #210 comments
picture31 Dec 2005 @ 16:15, by Gerald Vest

Thousands of people die miserable deaths alone, uncared for and in poverty, figures suggest. A study by Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow found around 60 people a week die alone without the support of friends and family. [link]
Isolation and loneliness- The report - Dying Alone: Assessing isolation, loneliness and poverty - found women who died alone were likely to be between the ages of 75 and 80 - almost 10 years older than men. It said that although the figures represented only a "snapshot" of provision across England, they painted "a stark picture of isolation, loneliness and in many cases impoverishment".

Our touch project with elders makes even more sense and urgency when we see these kinds of deathly reports. At least a caring volunteer would discover how uncared for our elders are throughout the world. I am examining statistics in the US and in other countries and suspect that isolated deaths with the elderly may be just as likely.

Our volunteer recruitment program in New Mexico is making steady progress and by mid-January we will launch our orientation and training sessions. The City of Las Cruces, Aging Programs are serving as sponsors. Several university programs—health science, nursing, social work, student organizations—are aiding us in the recruitment of volunteers and providing student interns to assist us in administering and creating a structure for maintaining continuity of care in nursing homes, outreach services, home-based care programs and other resources for our elders.


Obviously, we are excited about the interest generated by using touch to promote the health and wellbeing of our elders here in southern New Mexico. We are also eager to design a model health program that can be used by others throughout our global network. Do let us know if you wish to serve as an organizer and volunteer in your community so that our New Civilization Network can assist and support you.

We are all going to get older and die, however, it should be with dignity and self respect. For far too long, many of our elders are given a death sentence, living in isolation, out of sight and out of mind, much like our brothers and sisters committed to a life in prison. We are preparing our community to reach out and touch our lonely and isolated elders. Come join us!!!

*Picture by Ariana and Beau Laracuente, our grandchildren.

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4 Jan 2006 @ 11:30 by silviamar : Jerry, what a great progress
you're doing! And it's wonderful that many organizations are joining you as well. I see that Ari also likes to be on the more creative side of the camera :-)  

4 Jan 2006 @ 14:31 by jerryvest : Thanks for your support, Silvia...our
project is going great. Yes, the kids love shooting pictures and performing. It's really fun to share our photos and receive emails from the little rascals. Here are some other photos that we have taken... {link:}  

9 Feb 2006 @ 15:01 by martha : Touching is very healing
" For far too long, many of our elders are given a death sentence, living in isolation, out of sight and out of mind,"
What a wonderful project you are working on Jerry. I applaud you.
To suppliment my income I do some caregiving. I have two elderly women (92 and 83) that I help once a week. I make a point of rubbing their back or hugging them and giving them a kiss whenever I can. My heart is open to them and I send them loving energy each time I am with them. They are both lonely and one is approaching death. She is a very dear soul and I am helping her presently make the transition to a care facility which her daughter decided she needs to be in. It would be less expensive and better for my client to remain in her condo and simply have me come more often but her daughter has differnt ideas. She wants to travel more and possibly move out of state and I feel she is placing her mom in the home so she doesn't have to worry about her. While I do understand the daughter's viewpoint, I don't agree with her actions. There is little I can do about the situation except help my client sort through her possessions, tie up loose ends and give her the loving support she so needs.
So in a few weeks I will lose my client that I have been helping for nearly a year. I don't think she is going to last very long and I feel her daughter is putting her through needless stress.

There is a wonderful beauty in many people when they are elderly. When you look beyond the complaints they have about their body failing, you can see their spirit shining through them. They have dropped many of the illusions, accepted their fate and yet remain very loving individuals.  

9 Feb 2006 @ 16:13 by vibrani : Unfortunately
the focus in our society is on youth, beauty (even if fake).To have the perfect appearance. Unless you come from a close-knit family that respects its members, the elderly will be tossed aside. Another thing I see is media and technology that creates programs to be fast - everything quick, instant, disposable, selfish. The concept of time has changed and sadly some of that includes no more patience, no more "real time". Do you recall how things were even in your youth? A lot slower, like life in other countries where people take the time to care, enjoy life and each other. The economy has also betrayed the elderly...people didn't foresee many things that would happen. Like with health care, the cost of medication, social security. Only if you're very wealthy can you afford to live in old age, afford a nurse or a nursing home. More residential communities for older people are popping up in Los Angeles and I think it's great idea, so they have neighbors in their age group, can look out for each other, have stores nearby, other things in their buildings that reflect their needs and yet they can be independent.

Martha's client's story is very sad - to see a woman who can still live on her own for the most part and being forced into a home by her daugther is terrible. I hope she will be able to survive this move and not be so depressed that she doesn't want to go on living.  

9 Feb 2006 @ 16:21 by swanny : Ah yes
Yes touch is crutial...
If not the human touch then the touch
of a pet or plant or tree or even
to lie on the earth as the energies return
in the spring. To touch the soil with ones heart.
To touch with honor, grace and respect,
for touch is perhaps more a need then some know.
A "caring" touch.  

9 Feb 2006 @ 17:09 by rayon : The family unit
has special gifts to give if only people knew, and could use them wisely. A single elderly lonely person is like a piece of broken crockery in this respect. It is uninteligible to me (altho of course I do know) why this happens. It shows such a gaping ignorance in the so called modern society. Apparently it is much more common in Germany, for one, for the grandparents to reside at home to help with children etc. I have been told several times that this can create total havoc for the rest of the younger family members, as the elders demands etc simply do not respect the buzy life of the middle agers. So I say why not give this problem some sort of goverment support for the issues to be resolved between the parties living together. To me still, it is almost a crime, that people have to die alone. Some of my best friends have been in their nineties, and are in care homes. When happy memories of the things we did together long ago come to mind, I miss them sorely, and the fantastic discussions across tye years joined by deep common interest and probably love. Others tried to speak to me, and in politeness did not want to press questions, but just strived reaching to understand in order to mentally touch at least.  

10 Feb 2006 @ 05:13 by jerryvest : My dear friends and colleagues...I
am so grateful for your interactions, sharing and caring. You are so wise and compassionate that I know my students will appreciate your contributions to our touch project. I feel so very fortunate and blessed to have you in spirit with us in this venture. Thank are the best!

We are really making great progress and have selected Friday, March 17th as our target date to train our volunteers in our touch program. We have co-team leaders who attended our leadership meeting on Tuesday and we are about to send out our invitations next week. This is really getting exciting for us in New Mexico and my students in my class are also enthusiastic about joining our project.

Again, thanks for your support and for being with us.  

26 Jul 2006 @ 19:25 by Dawn Nelson @ : from Dawn Nelson
Dear Jerry: I just came across your website, am glad to know of your oganization and would like to mention it in the 2nd ed. of my book From the Heart Through the Hands: The Power of Touch in Caregiving due out in Sept/Oct. I am just now proofreading the final copy so if you have any objection to this mention please let me know right away. If you are not familiar with COMPASSIONATE TOUCH® see website or for my books. All the best to you and your volunteers! Dawn Nelson  

26 Jul 2006 @ 21:14 by jerryvest : Fantastic, Dawn...
Thank you for this opportunity to reach a wider group with our touch program. You have made such a wonderful contribution to our global community of touch through your books and articles. I was pleased to read your contributions to cancer patients as both my wife and I had to go through this challenge ourselves. My partner loves to receive touch and love giving her massage, especially feet, back and hands before we go to sleep.

Again, thank you. I'll look forward to reading your 2nd. ed.

Best wishes,


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