Thanks to human biology and oxytocin, visits with my demented mom are less stressful. The visits actually renew rather than deplete me. And it all started with hugging research.
Neuroeconomist Paul Zak, also known as “Dr. Love,” recommends at least eight hugs a day to be happier and enjoy better relationships.16 This may very well be the “hug threshold” that allows our bodies to produce ample amounts of oxytocin. http://www.epatienthealthcare.com/2015/02/09/could-a-hug-a-day-keep-infection-away/#more-35754
So, on my last visit, I slung my arm across the back of her wheelchair and when she tilted her head my way, I looped my arm around her shoulders and she nestled into me. I kissed her forehead and stroked her cheek and she didn’t push me away.
She calmed. I calmed. Thanks to biology and oxytocin.