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Try This when Caring for Someone with Dementia: Laughter Therapy

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Try laughter therapy when caring for someone with dementia.

Caring for someone with dementia is certainly nothing to laugh about. Yet research is increasingly pointing to the benefits of laughter, and incorporating it into dementia care may be just what the doctor ordered to improve quality of life for your loved one.

For instance, an Australian study recently revealed that humor therapy can reduce agitation in those with dementia as effectively as antipsychotic medications, with no unwanted side effects. Shared laughter connects us, and helps those 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 releases endorphins, which suppress stress hormones, and can even improve blood pressure and reduce 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 loved one (which incorporates clapping, singing, silly poses, and of course, laughter) or simply implementing ideas such as these at home:

  • Add lightheartedness and silliness spontaneously throughout the day. Sing goofy songs, dance around the house, tell simple jokes, and create an atmosphere of joy for the senior.
  • Understand that what works today may not work tomorrow – or even an hour from now. Gauge your loved one’s responses, and if anything seems to increase agitation, shelve the idea and try again later.
  • Remove arguing and correcting from conversations with the senior. A simple “yes” and redirection to another topic 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.

Let Relevar Home Care, the experts in elder care in Grosse Pointe, help brighten life for a senior with dementia! All of our specialized dementia caregivers are fully trained and experienced in a wide variety of creative, effective care techniques. Seniors achieve the added benefit of enhanced socialization, combined with necessary relief from care duties for family members, making a partnership with a Relevar Home Care caregiver a win-win!

Call us at 888-493-3513 to schedule an in-home assessment to learn more, and to request some additional helpful resources to further equip you to provide the best possible care for your loved one. We provide services in elder care in Grosse Pointe and throughout eastern Wayne County and Oakland, Macomb, Lapeer, St. Clair and Port Huron counties in Michigan.