Coping with Dementia Tip: Laugh Your Cares Away!

Coping with Dementia Tip: Laugh Your Cares Away!

Caring for a person you love who is coping with dementia is certainly nothing to laugh about. Yet research is increasingly pointing towards the benefits of humor, and incorporating it into dementia care could possibly be exactly what the doctor ordered to improve total well-being for your loved one.

For example, an Australian research study recently reported that humor therapy can lessen agitation in people who have dementia as thoroughly as antipsychotic medications, with no unintended side effects. Shared laughter connects us, and helps those diagnosed with cognitive difficulties to feel accepted, safe, 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 produces endorphins, which inhibit stress hormones, and may even improve blood pressure levels and minimize pain for older adults – all of which make it well worth adding to your dementia care regimen, whether by enrolling in a laughter yoga class with your family member (which incorporates clapping, singing, silly poses, and of course, laughter) or simply implementing ideas such as these at home:

  • Include lightheartedness and silliness randomly during the day. Sing goofy songs, dance around your home, tell simple jokes, and create an atmosphere of joy for the older adult.
  • Realize that what works today may not work tomorrow – or even an hour or so from now. Assess your loved one’s reactions, and if 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. A simple “yes” and redirection to another subject or activity goes a long way in preempting negativity.
  • Remind yourself that it’s perfectly acceptable to be joyful. Laughter and dementia do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Allow the Windsor-Essex home care team at Amy’s Helping Hands to help enhance life for a senior loved one with dementia! Each one of our specialized dementia caregivers is professionally trained and experienced in a multitude of creative, effective care techniques. Older adults achieve the added benefit of enhanced socialization, and family caregivers are able to take time for crucial respite, making a partnership with an Amy’s Helping Hands caregiver a win-win! 

Call us at 519-915-4370 or contact us online to schedule an in-home assessment to find out more, and to request some additional useful resources to further equip you to supply the best possible care for your parent.