Caring for a loved one with dementia is obviously nothing to laugh about. Yet scientific studies are increasingly pointing to the advantages of humor, and incorporating it into dementia care could possibly be just what the doctor ordered to boost overall wellbeing for your loved one.
For instance, an Australian research study recently announced that humor therapy can decrease agitation in people who have dementia as successfully as antipsychotic medications, minus the unwanted side effects. Shared laughter connects us, and assists those with cognitive difficulties to feel understood, safe, 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 suppress stress hormones, and may even improve blood pressure levels and reduce pain for older adults – all of which will make it well worth including in your dementia care regimen, either by enrolling in a laughter yoga class with your family member (which incorporates clapping, singing, silly poses, and of course, laughter) or simply implementing ideas such as these at home:
- Include lightheartedness and silliness spontaneously each day. Sing goofy songs, dance around your home, tell simple jokes, and create an environment of joy for the senior.
- Recognize that what works today will possibly not work tomorrow – or sometimes even a couple of hours from now. Assess your loved one’s responses, and if anything seems to increase anxiety, shelve the idea and try again at a later date.
- Remove arguing and correcting from conversations with the senior. An easy “yes” and redirection to a different topic or activity goes a considerable way in preempting negativity.
- Truly believe that it is absolutely acceptable to be joyful. Laughter and dementia don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
JFS Care, a trusted provider of home care in Santa Monica and the surrounding areas, helps brighten life for a senior with dementia! All of our specialized dementia caregivers are completely trained and experienced in a multitude of creative, effective care techniques. Seniors achieve the additional benefit of enhanced socialization, along with necessary respite from care responsibilities for family members, making a partnership with a JFS Care caregiver a win-win!
Give us a call at (213) 383-2273 to schedule an in-home assessment to learn more about our home care in Santa Monica and the surrounding areas. Visit our Service Area page for a full listing of the locations we serve.