Laughter is the key to living a long and healthy life. For the elderly, living a life full of laughter and joy can help them deal with stress as well as a myriad of other health benefits.
As a person ages, the amount of laughter they experience may be reduced, but the comprehension of jokes deepens, giving them a fuller understanding of humor as they age.
We will discuss in this article:
- Benefits of Laughter
- Seniors and Joy – Aging With Humor
- Infusing Humor Into Healing
- Laughter Scares Depression
- Laughter Is Great For Caregivers Too
Benefits of Laughter
An elderly person is more apt to use humor to deal with their age or illness. This allows them to age using humor and allows them to keep their sensibility. They are able to laugh at getting older as everyone experiences aging and it is a common way to relate to becoming a senior. When a person laughs, they experience what has been described as a wave of energy. This energy sweeps through the body and creates endorphins that can help a senior feel joy. Some of the advantages a senior can experience when aging with humor are:
- Reduced stress
- Pain relief
- Lower blood pressure
- Increase immune system
- Mind stimulation
- Fight off depression
- Reduce feelings of isolation
- Boost mood
Seniors and Joy – Aging With Humor
Studies, such as the one done by Norwegian University of Science and Technology, prove that a senior can actually live longer as a result of laughter.
Aging with humor can produce everlasting effects and allow an elderly person to ward off bouts of depression and isolation.
Subscribing to laughter as medicine can actually work to bout chronic illnesses and has been demonstrated to improve conditions such as:
Laughter has been shown to help reduce symptoms and adverse effects of these diseases and can promote a positive outlook on the elderly’s prognosis.
Infusing Humor Into Healing
Therapies that incorporate humor and laughter can help a senior experience joy and be happier with their life. Having a joke of the day to look forward to, a humorous video to watch or sharing a funny moment with a senior can go a long way to improving their health both physically and mentally.
One such therapy that can improve physical and mental health is dancing. In fact, an activity like dancing can increase a seniors social engagement and decrease depression.
Dancing is a great group activity and can be healing in a number of ways for seniors. It’s a fun activity that encourages movement, laughter, and joy.
Laughter Scares Depression
As humans, we respond positively to smiles and laughter because of the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is released when someone smiles at us and even when we look in the mirror and smile at ourselves.
Our body physically reacts to situations based on how we feel. For example, if we’re relaxed, then our muscles will be relaxed, but if we’re stressed, then our muscles will be tense.
Besides the release of dopamine when we’re happy, our body also creates another concoction that is released in our bloodstream. This joy concoction is delivered in such high concentrations that it can overpower the production of other hormones.
Positive thoughts can literally create chemical reactions in our body that can protect us against the immunosuppressive effects of stress. So the old adage, laughter is the best medicine, is actually accurate.
Laughter Is Great For Caregivers Too
Laughter can also be beneficial for caregiver, as it can help them cope with the stress of watching their loved one age or become ill. It can help them to reduce the anxiety of caring for a parent and make light of a challenging situation.
Infusing laughter into situations that are difficult can also signal to the parent you are caring for that there is nothing to be alarmed about, even when things aren’t going as they should. Laughter can make a tense situation during caregiving a lot easier and allow you both to feel relaxed.
Using laughter to care for a loved one can put everyone at ease. It can help to improve a parent’s health and allow the caregiver to deal with a situation that is extremely hard.
One can appreciate the fact that their parent is aging with humor and embrace it into their caregiving style for the benefit of everyone.