January 10, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

two-senior-women-laughing

Caring for a person you love with dementia is obviously nothing to laugh about. However, studies are increasingly pointing to the benefits associated with laughter, and adding it into dementia care could be precisely what the doctor ordered to boost overall wellbeing for a senior loved one.

As an example, an Australian study recently revealed that humor therapy can aid in eliminating agitation in people who have dementia as successfully as antipsychotic medications, with no unwanted side effects. Shared laughter connects us, and assists those diagnosed with 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 inhibit stress hormones, and can also improve blood pressure levels and reduce pain for aging parents – all of which will make it well worth adding to your dementia care regimen, either by signing up for a laughter yoga class together with your loved one (which includes clapping, singing, silly poses, and of course, laughter) or simply implementing ideas including these in your own home:

  • Include lightheartedness and silliness randomly during the day. Sing goofy songs, dance in your home, tell simple jokes, and develop an environment of happiness for the senior.
  • Understand that what works today will possibly not work tomorrow – or even an hour from now. Gauge your loved one’s responses, and in case anything seems to increase agitation, shelve the idea and try again at a later date.
  • Eliminate quarreling and correcting from conversations with the older adult. An easy “yes” and redirection to another topic or activity goes a considerable way in preempting negativity.
  • Emphasize to yourself that it’s absolutely appropriate to be joyful. Laughter and dementia do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Let At Home Independent Living help brighten life for a loved one with dementia! All of our specialized dementia caregivers are completely trained and knowledgeable in numerous creative, effective care techniques. Older adults achieve the extra benefit of enhanced socialization, as well as crucial relief from care duties for family members, making a partnership with an At Home Independent Living care provider a win-win!

Contact us at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to arrange an in-home assessment, and to ask about some additional useful resources to further equip you to supply the best possible dementia care in Syracuse, NY for your parent.