Looking after someone you love with dementia is definitely nothing to laugh about. Nonetheless, research is increasingly pointing towards the benefits associated with laughter, and adding it into dementia care may in fact be the best medicine for Alzheimer’s disease to enhance wellbeing for a senior loved one.
For instance, an Australian study just recently reported that humor therapy is effective in reducing agitation in those with dementia as thoroughly as antipsychotic medications, without any negative effects. Shared laughter connects us, and assists people who have cognitive difficulties to feel understood, safe, 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 produces 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 including in your dementia care regimen, whether by registering for a laughter yoga class with your loved one (which incorporates clapping, singing, silly poses, and of course, laughter) or simply implementing ideas such as these at home:
- Add some lightheartedness and silliness randomly during the day. Sing goofy songs, dance in your home, tell simple jokes, and create an environment of joy for the older adult.
- Know that what works today may not work tomorrow – or perhaps even an hour from now. Evaluate your loved one’s reactions, and if anything appears to boost agitation, shelve the idea and try again in the future.
- Remove quarreling and correcting from conversations with the senior. An easy “yes” and redirection to another subject or activity goes a considerable way in preempting negativity.
- Emphasize to yourself that it’s absolutely acceptable to be joyful. Laughter and dementia do not have to be mutually exclusive.
Let Stay Home Care help enhance life for a cherished older adult with dementia! All of our specialized dementia caregivers are highly trained and experienced in numerous creative, effective care techniques. Seniors achieve the added benefit of enhanced socialization, in addition to necessary respite from care duties for family members, making a partnership with a Stay Home Care’s dementia care team a win-win!
Contact us at 615-964-7726 to arrange an in-home care assessment for more information about our dementia care in Nashville and surrounding areas, and to request some additional useful senior care resources to help equip you to supply the best possible care for your loved one. View our full service area.