Did you know that there are more than 44 million caregivers in the U.S. who care for someone with dementia? Over 83% of these people are friends, family and other unpaid caregivers. Taking care of another person takes a toll on caregivers, effecting their financial, emotional and physical well-being
Laughter Is the Best Medicine
While this is an age old adage, there is increasing evidence to its validity. Recent studies and professional publications have noted that humor can be helpful not only to loved ones living with dementia, but to their caregivers as well.
5 Benefits of Laughing for Caregivers
- Lowers Stress Hormone Levels–Lower stress hormone means feeling less stress. Studies at the Mayo Clinic show laughing can immediately relieve the body’s stress response and calm the tension we hold.
- Produces General Sense of Wellbeing–Increased laughter means increased endorphins. Endorphins are the “feel good” hormone.
- Fortifies Immune System–When trying to strengthen the immune system, we often think about getting more sleep, eating well and taking vitamins. But a good belly laugh will also do the trick by decreasing stress and increasing T-cells (cells that fight disease)
- Strengthen Family Relationships–Laughter is contagious. It creates connection to other people, often around a shared experience. Humor strengthens relationships by creating positive feelings and fostering emotional connection.
- Reduce Anxiety–Regular laughing can reduce anxiety. We tend to feel better, due in part to increased endorphins, and our outlook on life begins to shift. Instead of focusing on the things that make us anxious, we begin to focus beyond the anxiety.
Tips for Using Humor
- Watch classic TV sitcoms with your loved ones like I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, The Dick Van Dyke Show. Many of these can be found on YouTube.
- Encourage your loved ones sense of humor through story telling and reminiscencing.
- Play Mad Libs with your loved one to create funny stories sure to make you laugh. http://www.madlibs.com
Want more ideas? Get your FREE National Humor Month Calendar filled with funny holidays and links to activities. Download your copy HERE