New Civilization News: Update on Safe, Skillful, Loving Touch with Elders    
 Update on Safe, Skillful, Loving Touch with Elders13 comments
picture7 May 2006 @ 15:20, by Gerald Vest

What’s happening with our 15-Minute StressOut Program with Elders? An Update -

We are generating interest, relaxation and support for our Las Cruces Health Promotion Team with Elders. During the past 2 weeks, our organization has given over 100 individual ‘stressouts’ with elders in 3 of our health settings. Our New Mexico State University, social work students, senior volunteers, staff members of Munson Senior Center and Home Based Services, joined with us in giving healthy, loving touch with our elders.

It is very ‘touching’, pun intended, to observe and experience the relief of stress, anxiety and depression of our elders who participate in our weekly chair type massage programs given in our community centers also offering diabetes testing and blood pressure exams. Professional students enrolled in my course on “Social Work Practice with Elders” have contributed greatly to this effort and have learned to incorporate safe, loving touch and integrative health practices into their professional practice with this population. [link]

I have enjoyed giving our ‘stressout program’ to elders as well. All of our participants have evaluated their experience as positive and relaxing and most have returned for a second massage. Because of the huge response to this program, it is necessary for us to do more recruitment for healthy elders and other volunteers to administer the program and meet the demands for the service. For example, during the next few months, we will be giving demonstrations in co-op food services, social clubs, public schools, university classes and other resources.

As a global touch project designed with our New Civilization Network, I appreciate the feedback and messages of support from our members. Thank you.

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7 May 2006 @ 15:34 by judih : hey jerry!
good to see you updating the NCN folk. Have missed you, but know you're highly active in working with those who need you.
best to you and the family.  

7 May 2006 @ 15:46 by jerryvest : Thanks for your continued
support, Judih. It's always good to hear from you and to see your contributions here on NCN. Our family is doing very well, however, my granddaughter recently broke her arm doing gymnastics so during Mother's Day we will be visiting her and giving her our TLC.  

7 May 2006 @ 15:49 by judih : oh, no
hope she's over the immediate pain. If she has an old-fashioned cast, please sign my name for me and sketch on a butterfly.
Thanks, Judih...I'll pass on your good will and butterfly when I see her. I did post a couple of pictures of her in a recent gymnastic's event and I know that she will remember you for helping us with our butterfly project. {link:}  

7 May 2006 @ 16:45 by martha : Great work Jerry
I would join you in the project if I lived in your neck of the woods...

As it is with my clients I do spend time touching them gently either by putting a arm around them, hugging them, gently rubbing a back or holding a hand. I also have talks with them everytime I am with them about any problems they might be having. It helps to show the care and concern through talking and touching that really can make a difference in anyone's life , especially the old and weak.
It's so right about giving touch in various ways when we are with our children and others who are open to physical interaction and loving touch.

We have really been busy giving our touch program to our elders these past two weeks; however, all of our workers learn that they too experience deep body-mind relaxation, balance and trust. Our touch program is also a form of meditation as both giver and receiver maintain an awareness of their breath throughout the experience. I'm certain that many helping professionals, who incorporate our safety guidelines,can also help their clients, partners, and themselves improve their relationships and support their well being by using our program as well.

Martha, thanks for your continued support during the development of our project.  

9 May 2006 @ 12:28 by Ned Hamson @ : GoodOnVolunteers, Elders and You Jerry
In photo it seems you are training, as elders are not being massaged. Do you have elders give massage or learn how to, as well? I ask because I think in the "giving" of a massage attention is focused on giving and stress is forgotten or also eased in the process - is that correct?
I remember a story from a friend who noticed that his father's shakyness, left him for a time, when he helped someone else in the nursing home get across the room. Good on you and the work Jerry, Ned  

9 May 2006 @ 12:33 by jerryvest : You have a good eye for details, Ned. It
is true that this picture was taken during a training session for student social workers in my class giving the stressout to other students and to social work supervisors. I do have my laptop sitting on a table playing our instructional DVD.

We have been able to train about 12 seniors willing to give the stressout and they are in the process of becoming certified. These elder workers give the program to homebound, frail elderly. I haven't been able to get any pictures of them doing their touch in the homes, but am very happy to have their services.

Thanks for your contributions here, Ned. Best wishes, Jerry  

19 May 2006 @ 19:12 by jerryvest : I have added a new picture
to this article. Beverly, known as Beve, joined our team early on and has been giving our stressouts in two of our health centers serving our elders. This picture was taken yesterday at our East Side Center here in Las Cruces, NM. Beve is a very interesting and skillful elder as she has been involved in body work for many years before coming to New Mexico. When she heard about our program, she called me and said that she would be interested in joining our team. I gave her a copy of our instructional DVD and she learned the process quickly.

She makes friends with all of our participants very easily and has become one of our most experienced senior giver of our healthy touch program during the past few weeks.  

19 May 2006 @ 22:19 by jobrown : Indeed, in
'forgetting' ourselves ( for the sake of helping someone else ) we find ourselves!
Not only that, but when we forget our pain ( be it headaches or emotinal pain from who knows when and where, the headache etc, disappears, most often! Besides, the Cosmic Clarion call IS to (start ) relating to one another! Relating to someone's pain opens us up to feel compassion. When we are able to feel compassion we can relate!.... the chicken/egg Q! ; )
When we can relate people become -automatically- "our friends" - that is how we see it! Hence that is how it then is!
Powerful Tool; this Loving Touch!
Hugs to you all/ A-d  

15 Jun 2006 @ 04:54 by jerryvest : I realize that my article or update is
about to go into computer space, so thought I'd add some more encouragement for others to join us in our use of touch with our Elders.

It is really exciting to see our elders giving and receiving chair type massages. When I say 'chair type massage', I mean that when we give and receive this form of touch, the giver and receiver become aware of their breathing so that the receiver assumes the responsibility of letting go of their tension while the giver also maintains an awareness of her breath while applying the various techniques used in our "15-Minute StressOut Program." Thus, we are giving and receiving a partner meditation.

Our participants tell us that this is one of the best relaxation experiences that they have ever had. Today, one of my 70 yr. old partners told me when we started the massage that his body is usually very sore and painful. After the "stressout", "...let's go dancing, I feel so great."

If anyone is interested in learning to give and receive this meditation, you can print out the "Protocol" on our website and just follow the directions. The instructional DVD is also available and if you wish to receive a copy and become a giver to other elders in your community, do send us a request for a complimentary copy as described on our homepage.

As you can see, many of us are very enthusiastic and passionate about using safe, skillful and healthy touch to improve the quality of lives, health and relationships. After all, just look around and see how unhappy, lonely and ill our elders and others are in our stressful environment. Let's give touch a chance to relieve stress, anxiety and depression.

Please pass this message on to your friends and others--physical interaction or human touch is a basic human need and when deprived of it, we feel angry, isolated and alone in the world. Give an Elder a 'stressout', it will make both of you feel very united and loving. Hmm, I'm sorry if this sounds like an advertisement. On the other hand, what a great "father's day gift!"  

15 Sep 2006 @ 13:18 by jerryvest : I am happy to report that our community
and global touch project is going very well. We have added several new senior volunteers who have given over 300 'stressouts' since the beginning of our project. {link:}

We were very excited on Wednesday, Sep.13, when 9 senior, community nursing students from the New Mexico State University, Department of Nursing, and Instructor, Linda Schaberg, RN, ABD, arrived at our senior center to join our team. Following our orientation, the students exchanged with giving and receiving the chair like massage (stressout) and all are eager to learn our process and become certified.

We especially want to thank Irene Aguilar, Recreation Manager, as she serves to coordinate the nursing students and offer them learning opportunities and experiences working with our elders. Our entire team is engaged in recruiting and maintaining a strong base so that our program can continue to develop and offer safe, skillful and nourishing touch with our elders.

We want to encourage other programs, seniors and professionals throughout the world to incorporate skillful touch in your communities. We can tell from our evaluations that our services are greatly appreciated by both givers and receivers.  

13 Oct 2007 @ 14:05 by jerryvest : Thanks for participating; however,
the link is broken so we have now way of opening it. Please fix.  

19 Nov 2008 @ 01:12 by Mary Ellen Floyd @ : touch for elders
I have many years of working with elders (and others). I have learned of the value of healing touch and have included it in my work (I am an Usui Reiki Master) and have been an activities director for several years. Most recently in an Alzheimer's/dementia facility, and have seen the amazing results of loving touch. Is your project still in operation? Are there opportunities to be involved? Thank you for your work. Mary Ellen Floyd 575-524-0691  

23 Nov 2008 @ 14:12 by jerryvest : Thank you for introducing yourself and
work with Reiki and lovng touch, Mary Ellen. Yes, we are very involved in using touch with elders and all populations with our stressOut Program. Our volunteers in Southern CA, Las Cruces, NM and El Paso, TX are expecially actively involved in giving our health touch program to elders, especially our Alzheimers' residents in nursing homes and people visiting diabetic clinics in senior programs. I also work with Wounded Warriors and am developing programs to help these soldiers and their families.

During the past 2 weeks, Mr. Willie Brown, Activity Director, Ambrosio Guillen Texas State Veterans Home, invited me to do a training workshop for his staff so that they can give their 60 Alzheimers' residents a stressout every week and also incorporate some other integrative activites with this population. So, we are alive and well and we are in the process of incorporating our use of safe, skillful and nourishing touch with every VA Nursing Program.

Anyway, we have 3 Reiki Masters and 3 Medical Massage Therapists and an Acupuncturist working with our US Army Restoration and Resilience Center here at Ft. Bliss and the soldiers and their wives are experiencing great benefits from these integrative health practices.

I would like to invite you to visit our Home Page and Forum so that you can view our current and historical approaches for advancing the use of touch, our goals, activities, and guidelines for the safe use of touch.

Best wishes,


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