Who Doesn’t Like Holding Hands?

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable female nurse comforting a patient in the hospital

You might be wondering what the big deal is about holding hands. What’s so special? What’s the big deal? Like one of life’s simple pleasures, it feels good and lifts your spirits on a bad day. 

But for seniors experiencing early onset memory loss, it can help them live independently longer by reminding them who they are and their location. 

Patients with Alzheimer’s know that something is wrong but often don’t know what. Holding hands with someone can reassure them that they’re safe and loved while their memories return or while we love and care for them until they don’t remember anything at all.

1. What’s the big deal about holding hands

Holding hands with someone can reassure them that they’re safe and loved while their memories return or while we love and care for them until they don’t remember anything at all.

2. The Benefits of Holding Hands

Seniors who have trouble finding the bathroom may forget how to use the toilet. They may forget that flushing after each use is important. Holding their spouse’s hand during these daily activities is a way to remind them and perhaps give them back some of their independence by teaching them what to do: wash their hands, flush the toilet, go back to bed.

3. How to Hold Her Hand

Offer her your hand and wait for her to take it. Or, hold out your hand and tell her you’d like to hold hers, or ask if she’d like you to hold hers. You might have to guide her hand into your hand by placing it in hers.

4. How a Husband Should Hold his Wife’s Hand

A husband should be aware of how he’s holding his wife’s hands – if he squeezes too hard she could get a muscle pull that hurts when she uses it again. If he holds on too tight, however, she may feel trapped and not want him to touch her at all.

5. How to Hold Her Hand When She’s Walking

Sometimes, she may want your help when walking. Hold her hand and walk with her, as if you’re her partner. You can keep both hands on the back of hers and just guide her where to go.

6. What If There’s No Time?

If you’re at work or out shopping, find something – a railing, a pole or the car door handle – that you can hold hands with so she won’t get lost while you’re in the store. You might even want to ask her which one she’d prefer: holding your hand or holding something else?

7. You Want Her to Hold Your Hand, Too

If you want her to hold your hand while you walk or do something else, like lifting a bag off the floor or turning around in a chair, offer your uninjured hand first and tell her “Thank you.” If she takes it and holds it all by herself, tell her “you’re welcome.” 

If she doesn’t take your hand at all and clings instead to something you’ve already taken hold of, ask her if she wants to hold your hand. Many women feel uncomfortable with a man’s hands on their own body. You can also put your uninjured arm across hers if that’s more comfortable for both of you.

8. When You’re Around Other People

If you’re in a restaurant or at a party where you don’t know all the other people, ask her if she’d prefer to hold hands with someone else. If she doesn’t want to, take her hand regardless of whom it’s with. If she does want to be with you, she might prefer your hand over hers. Hold her hand like you would hold a dog’s leash – and keep your other hand at the top of your cane for balance.

9. When You’re Sad Over Your Losses and Loneliness

When you hold her hand, she may feel reassured that you realize your life is changing and that it won’t be the same as it used to be.

10. A Hand Is a Little More Personal Than a Hug

If you’re holding hands with your children, they might feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. When they’re holding hands with their mother, however, they may feel comfortable and secure. So hold her hand in public whether you’re people watching or going through a crowd.

11. What If She’s Getting Married?

When she’s not sure what to do and she holds your hand, move her closer to the decision until she realizes it’s her own body against yours. When she realizes it’s her decision, she might choose differently.


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