You’ve probably heard the old proverb, “Laughter is the best medicine.” It’s no joke! Laughter brings many health and social benefits to people of all ages, especially older adults.
As a caregiver to an elderly loved one, keeping a sense of humour while carrying out your care duties is essential. Seeking out opportunities for laughter is critical to ensuring happy days and improving the care experience for both of you.
This doesn’t mean you have to buy a joke book or start practicing stand-up comedy. Laughter can evolve naturally from simply spending time with your older relative, reliving memories, watching a funny movie, or simply engaging with them. When you connect face to face, you’ll both feel happier and more relaxed, which can help defuse stressful situations.
Laughing is also a powerful force in other ways. It reduces pain, fights depression or boredom, strengthens the immune system, and relieves stress. A hearty chuckle will bring your loved one’s mind and body back into balance and create great memories that can last a lifetime.
Best of all, it helps your older loved one feel great, which makes the caregiving experience much more favourable for both of you!
Here are some of the ways laughter works its magic to create great days while caring for your elderly relative.
Laughter can help solve mood changes
Sometimes, an older person can be moody or become sad, anxious, or angry. Although you work hard to avoid the triggers that cause mood changes, they can still happen.
Feelings of sadness or anger can be quickly dampened when we’re laughing. Laughter creates a positive effect on all aspects of our mental and emotional health and will bring you and your loved one even closer together. Maintaining a sense of humour through difficult situations, disappointments, and loss can help us keep a positive, optimistic outlook on life.
Laughter helps us keep a happy demeanor and gives us the courage to find meaning and hope when we’re feeling down. Just hearing your laughter can perk your older relative up, causing them to immediately feel the need to smile and want to join in on the fun!
Laughing helps in the care of people with dementia
Caring for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia requires a particular set of skills, especially as the condition progresses. Laughter is an essential tool to have in your toolbox to help combat the symptoms.
Dementia can trigger feelings of frustration, confusion, and depression, which can lead to troubling habits such as wandering, agitation, or emotional outbursts. You can use laughter to redirect negative emotions and create a pleasant distraction for a short time.
However, it’s crucial to read the person’s reaction to humour. They may become frustrated if a joke is too complicated to understand or they don’t understand its context. Humour and comedy shows from their young adulthood can help lighten their mood and trigger happy memories, so have some DVDs or YouTube clips handy for when everyone could use a good laugh.
Laughter boosts physical health and immunity
As caregivers, we need to be prepared to give extra attention when our loved one experiences physical pain or contracts an illness. Laughter helps support physical health so your older relative can have happy, more active days.
A good laugh will help relieve physical tension and stress and relax muscles for up to 45 minutes. It also decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, improving our ability to ward off disease.
Laughter is good for heart health too. It supports the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, helping to protect against heart attack or other cardiovascular conditions. It can also lower blood sugar, helping your loved one relax and sleep better.
Laughter has the same effect on caregivers, giving them lots of energy to focus on tasks and accomplish more – all while wearing a smile!
Laughter helps people enjoy life
No matter what’s happening in the world around us, there is always something that can make us smile and laugh, putting us in a positive frame of mind quickly – and for free!
One of the best sources of humour is ourselves. A great way to instantly boost our mood is to flip through the family album with our elderly loved one to revisit the funny moments from your life together. Silly stories, happy memories, or genele jokes about yourself can leave you both giggling for the rest of the day, helping to make caregiving easier, more enjoyable, and healthier for both of you.
As a family caregiver, you’ll likely see more than your fair share of frustrations and difficult days. Laughter can be a helpful remedy for the stress that comes from this noble but challenging role. It will also help you bond closer with your elderly loved one while helping you stay healthy too.
Be sure to incorporate some healthy chuckles into your daily caregiving duties. It can help you and your loved one have a great day, every day!
Quality in-home elder care services in Etobicoke, Mississauga, and Brampton
Our entire team of professional caregivers specialize in delivering respectful, empathetic care with a smile, and enjoy bringing laughter, joy, and sunshine into your elderly loved one’s home every day. We truly believe in helping your older relative have a great day, every day, with expert care that enhances the beauty of life.
If you have any questions about our specialized home and elder care services, please reach out to us anytime for a free, no-obligation discussion to discover how we can help you.