Caring for someone you love with dementia is definitely not something to laugh about. However, scientific studies are increasingly pointing towards the benefits associated with humor, and adding it into dementia care could possibly be exactly what the doctor ordered to improve quality of life for a loved one.
As an example, an Australian study recently reported that humor therapy can decrease agitation in individuals diagnosed with dementia as successfully as antipsychotic medications, without the unwanted side effects. Shared laughter connects us, and helps those diagnosed with cognitive difficulties to feel accepted, 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 suppress stress hormones, and can even improve blood pressure and minimize pain for older adults – all of which make it well worth including in your dementia care regimen, either by signing up for a laughter yoga class with your family member (which incorporates clapping, singing, silly poses, and of course, laughter) or simply implementing these dementia care tips at home:
- Add lightheartedness and silliness spontaneously throughout the day. Sing goofy songs, dance in your home, tell simple jokes, and develop an atmosphere of joy for the senior.
- Recognize that what is successful today may not work tomorrow – or even one hour from now. Evaluate your loved one’s responses, and in case anything appears to boost anxiety, shelve the idea and attempt again later.
- Remove arguing and correcting from conversations with the senior. An easy “yes” and redirection to a different topic or activity goes a long way in preempting negativity.
- Remind yourself that it’s absolutely acceptable to be joyful. Laughter and dementia do not have to be mutually exclusive.
Let CareWorks Health Services, experts in senior care Orange County families depend on, help enhance life for a senior with dementia! All of our specialized dementia caregivers are completely trained and knowledgeable in a multitude of creative, effective care techniques. Older adults achieve the added benefit of enhanced socialization, combined with necessary relief from care duties for family members, making a partnership with CareWorks Health Services a win-win!
Contact us at (949) 859-4700 to arrange an in-home assessment for more information about professional senior care Orange County families rely on, and to obtain some additional helpful resources to further equip you to provide the best possible care for your parent.