Caring for a person you love with dementia is certainly not something to laugh about. Yet studies are frequently pointing towards the benefits associated with humor, and incorporating it into dementia care could possibly be exactly what the doctor ordered to enhance total wellbeing for your parent.
For instance, an Australian research study just recently reported that humor therapy is effective in reducing agitation in people who have dementia as thoroughly as antipsychotic medications, without the negative effects. Shared laughter connects us, and helps individuals diagnosed with cognitive difficulties to feel accepted, 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 inhibit stress hormones, and may even improve blood pressure and reduce pain for senior loved ones – all of which will make it well worth adding to your dementia care regimen, whether by registering for a laughter yoga class along with your loved one (which incorporates clapping, singing, silly poses, and of course, laughter) or simply implementing ideas such as these in your own home:
- Add some lightheartedness and silliness randomly to each day. Sing goofy songs, dance in your home, tell simple jokes, and develop an atmosphere of joy for the older adult.
- Know that what is successful today may not work tomorrow – or even one hour from now. Assess your loved one’s responses, and if anything tends to boost anxiety, shelve the idea and try again in the future.
- Remove arguing and correcting from conversations with the senior. A simple “yes” and redirection to a different subject or activity goes a considerable way in preempting negativity.
- Remind yourself that it is completely appropriate to be joyful. Laughter and dementia do not have to be mutually exclusive.
Allow Atlanta Home Care Partners to help brighten life for an older adult with dementia! Each one of our specialized dementia caregivers is fully trained and experienced in a multitude of creative, effective care techniques. Seniors achieve the extra benefit of improved socialization, combined with necessary respite from care responsibilities for family members, making a partnership with an Atlanta Home Care Partners caregiver a win-win!
Reach out to us at (404) 228-0103 to schedule an in-home assessment for more information about our top-rated home health care in Decatur and throughout the Atlanta area. We’d be happy to share some additional resources to further help you provide the most effective care for your parent.