caregiver_laughingCaregivers have a difficult job. In addition to their busy careers and caring for their own families, they are responsible for an aging loved one. Many times the loved one is living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.

Juggling all of those roles makes for a very stressful life. In fact, caregivers score significantly lower on the Physical Health Index than their non-caregiving peers. Finding meaningful ways to relieve stress is important for both mental and physical well-being. The healing power of humor therapy is one way caregivers and the loved one they care for can find relief.

The Therapeutic Value of Humor

In the words of the great Bill Cosby, “If you can find humor in it, you can survive it.” And there really are proven scientific reasons to LOL. They include:

  • Laughing helps to lower blood pressure. It expands blood vessels and increases the blood flow through your body.
  • A good hearty laugh can help relieve chronic pain.
  • Laughter is a workout! In fact it does have aerobic value.

Across the country, humor is finding its way in to aging services. In some very interesting ways.

Our team at Assisted Living Services thought readers might enjoy some of our favorites:

  • In Sarasota, Florida the circus comes to seniors and their caregivers. In whatever  setting that they call home. Laughter Unlimited is a non-profit organization dedicated to “humor with a serious purpose.” They bring professional clowns, entertainers and trained volunteers to nursing homes, assisted living communities, adult day centers and hospitals for residents, patients, family members and staff to enjoy. 
  • Laughter Yoga is another organization that helps unleash playful energy and creativity. It is a low impact form of exercise that was developed in India in 1995. It combines laughter with breathing exercises that help relieve stress. Caregivers and their loved ones can participate from anywhere. There are free laughter clubs across the country and online. They also host daily and weekly laughter meditation calls you can be a part of at no cost. They are staffed by volunteers and offered at a variety of times across many different time zones.
  • Joyologist Steve Wilson offers training and educational advice on humor. He also organizes a World Laughter Tour. If you are part of a support group or would just like to read more about humor and healing, you can find some great resources here.

Assisted Living Services, Inc. can also help caregivers find relief through our in-home care and respite services.  Our companions can help with a variety of tasks ranging from meal preparation to housekeeping.

Photo Credit: Sean Molin Photography via Compfight cc