Body Language

Body Language That Says "I Love You"
father and daughter hugging

How can you get along better with your loved one? Let your body language do the talking. Humans read nonverbal communication far more quickly and strongly than they believe words they hear.

Try using these wordless ways to express your love and affection to the person in your care:

  1. Smile when you talk.
    Your relaxed demeanor speaks volumes, just as a furrowed brow and tense expression can put your loved one on edge.

  2. Mirror your loved one's behavior.
    Couples in love do this unconsciously, but any pair can feel more connected when they're doing things in synch. Copy your loved one's behavior (in a subtle way), sitting in the same position, taking sips of tea at the same time, moving your hands in similar ways.

  3. Touch when you talk.
    Many older adults are touch-deprived because they don't receive a lot of physical contact. Even long-married couples and family members living in close quarters can fall out of the habit of basic touch. Yet touch is vital because it's reassuring and connecting, and therefore calming. Try putting your hand on your loved one's back or knee as you talk. Touch doesn't have to be long lasting to be deeply felt -- and to improve mood (for both of you!).

  4. Hug like you mean it.
    Especially for older adults who have dementia, a hug that lasts a few beats longer than usual -- five seconds is a good rule of thumb -- is less startling and more comforting.

  5. Hold your loved one's gaze.
    Looking directly into someone's eyes signals that you're interested in him or her, and that you care. It's natural for speakers to have an urge to look away after about three seconds, but when you hold the gaze a little longer, the other person receives an unconscious sensation of being cared for.


over 3 years ago, said...

I also find, that my precious lady, has started stuttering bad, I was very frustrated....but I have found that some of the time,I can say "I love you, and she will say I love you....and then she don't stutter...but it don't work every time, but every time, saying I love you works...no matter what the out come....it is so important


over 3 years ago, said...

This is how relationships SHOULD be... but .. .. don't think it fits my wife. That's my loss. I can only work on it...


over 3 years ago, said...

I'm experiencing that with my husband that he is on steps 6. it is so helpful for trusting more to me. and he fells much more comfort. I feel he needs to get love more then ever. this article is very good. thanks.


over 3 years ago, said...

What I try to do is greet each person I know in the Facility (Assisted Living) when I go see Dad. Learning and calling them by their fist name (or last name, if they prefer) also helps them feel that someone cares. If I am close enough to them and know them fairly well, I just put a hand very lightly on their shoulder and maybe give a couple of light pats. If I have a few minutes, I might sit in a chair near them and talk with them for a few minutes. Most of them get very few, if any visitors.


over 3 years ago, said...

The article is great as is. Excellent points to always remember. I think it is important to note that these points are important for all ages for both the giver and the recipient.


over 4 years ago, said...

REALLY VERY HELPFUL ARTICLE...


over 4 years ago, said...

These suggestions are especially helpful as my Mom continues to lose vocabulary and cognition. Impossible to have a coherent conversation, yet she craves it as do I ... I can tell she misses the way we used to talk for hours. I'll certainly use these ideas.


over 4 years ago, said...

I have alzhimers,but I still like to read your comments.


over 4 years ago, said...

We forget that nonverbal is 90% of communication.


over 4 years ago, said...

actions over words are well heard.....


over 4 years ago, said...

useful


over 4 years ago, said...

Great reminders of the power of body language - especially when we can't find the right words


over 4 years ago, said...

Good tips for giving loving support to anyone.


over 4 years ago, said...

Thanks for a short and to the point article that helps deal with family and friends. it is easy to get lost in our day to day thoughts and forget the we need to feel connected.


over 4 years ago, said...

when you are married to a person who has never been affectionate, who hates touching and hugging, this information is useless.


over 4 years ago, said...

For Aspergers like myself, non-verbal communication or body language don't come naturally. We lack the "mirror" brain cells to be able to empathize. Sympathize, yes. Empathize, no. We need to learn body language by rote from books like: "The Power of Body Language" by Tonya Reiman. For everyone, we need to learn what the other person considers loving. There are five basic ways to express love. Your own way is not universal, even in your own family. Gary Chapman wrote a book about this called, "The Five Love Languages." The five ways are: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch. Gary elucidates how to tell and the varieties within each way.


over 4 years ago, said...

This is a GREAT listing! Thank you so much....


over 4 years ago, said...

mirror your loved one's behavior also Touch when you talk


over 4 years ago, said...

Non-verbal communication can speak louder than words.