The Benefits of Laughter in Dementia Care
Caring for someone you love with dementia is definitely nothing to laugh about. Yet studies are increasingly pointing towards the benefits of laughter in dementia care, and adding it may be exactly what the doctor ordered to boost well-being for a senior loved one.
As an example, an Australian study just recently revealed that humor therapy is effective in reducing agitation in individuals with dementia as effectively as antipsychotic medications, without any negative side effects. Shared laughter connects us, and assists people who have cognitive difficulties to feel understood, secure, and at ease. As stated by Lori La Bey, founder of Alzheimer’s Speaks, “When anyone is sick or having a hard time, they still like to laugh. I spend a lot of time teaching people that feelings don’t go away, and it’s okay to get back to that zone.”
Laughter also releases endorphins, which reduce stress hormones, and may also improve blood pressure levels and minimize pain for older adults – all of which make it well worth adding to your dementia care regimen, whether by signing up for a laughter yoga class along with your family member (which incorporates clapping, singing, silly poses, and of course, laughter) or simply implementing ideas such as these in your own home:
- Include lightheartedness and silliness randomly each day. Sing goofy songs, dance around the home, tell simple jokes, and develop an atmosphere of happiness for the older adult.
- Recognize that what works today will possibly not work tomorrow – or perhaps even an hour or so from now. Gauge your loved one’s reactions, and if anything appears to boost anxiety, shelve the idea and try again at a later date.
- Eliminate arguing with and correcting the senior. A straightforward “yes” and redirection to a different topic or activity goes a considerable way in preempting negativity.
- Emphasize to yourself that it is perfectly appropriate to be joyful. Laughter and dementia do not need to be mutually exclusive.
Let Hired Hands Home Care help brighten life for a loved one with dementia! All of our specialized dementia caregivers are fully trained and knowledgeable in numerous creative, effective care techniques. Older adults achieve the extra benefit of improved socialization, along with crucial relief from care responsibilities for family members, making a partnership with Hired Hands Home Care a win-win!
Reach out to us online or at (866) 940-4343 to schedule an in-home assessment to learn more about our home care assistance in Napa and the surrounding areas, and to ask about additional resources to further equip you to provide the most effective care for your loved one.