What is Caregiver Compassionate Touch?


March 18, 2023

What is Caregiver Compassionate Touch

Compassionate Touch® is a proven approach for caring for people with dementia.

It combines skilled touch and specialized communication, shown to prevent stress reactions for people living with dementia and enhance the quality of life for those in later stages of life. Employing Compassionate Touch has proven benefits in reducing negative behavioral reactions and the use of anti-psychotic medications. 

When appropriate, touch is a form of communication that can transcend words to convey emotion, caring, and compassion to a person who may or may not be able to respond verbally. Through the power of touch, care partners are engaged emotionally, socially, and soulfully. It helps care partners be fully present and connected in the moment and is much needed in providing person-centered care.

Caregivers may fear their touch being misinterpreted or unwanted. Their feelings may also be related to the fear of getting too close to their care receivers. While these fears can be understood, the use of touch is powerful and meaningful for both care partners. A person who does not want to be touched will communicate that message non-verbally through moving away, stiffening their neck, or closing their posture (e.g., crossing their arms).

Benefits of Compassionate Touch for Caregivers:

  • Easy and flexible to use
  • Perfect for family and professional care partners
  • Can be included in care plans and 1:1 visits
  • Can reduce care partner stress
  • Helps build trusting relationships and strengthen connections
  • Along with other interventions, can decrease behavioral incidences

Learn about Compassionate Touch and Compassionate Presence and how they can be used together. 

Source: AGE-u-cate Training Institute & James L. West Center for Dementia Care in Fort Worth. 

We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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