Caring for someone you love with dementia is certainly nothing to laugh about. Nonetheless, studies are frequently pointing towards the advantages of humor, and incorporating it into dementia care could be exactly what the physician ordered to enhance overall well-being for someone in your care.
For instance, an Australian research study recently reported that humor therapy can decrease agitation in individuals diagnosed with dementia as effectively as antipsychotic medications, without any unintended side effects. Many people wouldn’t think of laughter when searching for a medicine for dementia, but shared laughter connects us and helps those diagnosed with cognitive difficulties to feel accepted, secure, and at ease. According to 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 and minimize pain for older adults – all of which will make it well worth including in your dementia care regimen, either by registering for a laughter yoga class with your loved one (which includes clapping, singing, silly poses, and of course, laughter) or simply implementing ideas like these in your home:
- Include lightheartedness and silliness spontaneously each day. Sing goofy songs, dance in your home, tell simple jokes, and create an environment of joy for the senior.
- Recognize that what is effective today may not work tomorrow – or perhaps even an hour from now. Assess your loved one’s responses, and in case anything tends to boost agitation, shelve the idea and try again at a later date.
- Eliminate arguing and correcting from conversations with the older adult. An easy “yes” and redirection to a different subject or activity goes a long way in preempting negativity.
- Emphasize to yourself that it’s perfectly acceptable to be joyful. Laughter and dementia don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Let Home Sweet Home In-Home Care help enhance life for a cherished older adult with dementia! Each one of our specialized dementia caregivers is completely trained and knowledgeable in a multitude of creative, effective care techniques. Older adults achieve the additional benefit of improved socialization, in addition to crucial relief from care responsibilities for family members, making a partnership with a Home Sweet Home care provider a win-win!
Contact our expert caregivers providing senior services Kalamazoo and other Michigan communities trust at (269) 763-5350 in Paw Paw, (269) 849-9252 in St. Joseph, (269) 373-5444 in Kalamazoo or (269) 963-9888 in Battle Creek to schedule an in-home assessment to find out more, and to ask about some additional useful resources to help equip you to supply the best possible care for your family member. For a full list of the communities we serve, please visit our Locations page.