Humor is enjoyed among people of all ages, but it turns out it’s particularly healthy for the elderly. That’s because laughter can prevent certain medical conditions for which older people tend to be at risk. Of course, not all seniors are aware of how helpful humor can be. That’s why their younger family members and in-home caregivers should fill them in on the benefits of humor and then help them have a few laughs every day. Here’s what you need to know to get started.
There have been a few recent studies illustrating how laughter can help people avoid some medical conditions. For example, one study focused on 20 people in their 60s and 70s, putting them into two different groups. One of the groups sat quietly without reading or watching anything, and then the other group watched funny videos. About 20 minutes later, researchers ran tests and discovered that the group that had watched funny videos had lower cortisol levels, signifying they were less stressed than the other group.
Additionally, the people in both groups took a memory test. The group that had watched the videos had much better memory recall than the other, though the 20-minute break had apparently helped both. More specifically, the group that watched funny videos improved their memory by 43.6 percent, while the other saw a 20.3 percent improvement in memory recall. Humor also seemed to improve learning ability.
Of course, this is not the first study to show the positive effects of humor. There have also been studies that show laughter can help prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, burn calories and release endorphins, improving the overall mood. So it makes sense for anyone – especially the elderly – to take advantage of these benefits by laughing a little or a lot every day.
Family members can ensure their loved one gets some humor in their daily life in a few ways. If you're able to visit frequently, plan a get-together for some lighthearted conversation, which is sure to involve a little laughter. Watching funny movies is another easy way to introduce humor into anyone’s life.
Not everyone lives close enough to their aging relatives to see them often, but you can still have fun in other ways. You can make a phone call or set up a video chat to have a breezy conversation just like you would in person. You may also consider buying joke books or funny movies and have them delivered to your loved one, even if they’re across the country.
When we're all able to enjoy the movie theater again, buying a gift card or movie tickets and instructing your loved one to use them to go see a comedy with a friend is another way to ensure they get some laughs on a regular basis. You can even buy a subscription to a humorous or lighthearted magazine so they can look forward to a few laughs as soon as they check the mail.
Granted, it’s often more fun to share a laugh with someone else than alone. So when someone you love lives too far to check in on them regularly, setting up in-home senior care – someone to help with daily tasks, provide companionship and even some laughter – can help. FAVOR Home Care is pleased to provide this type of assistance to anyone interested in keeping their aging loved ones safe and happy at home. Feel free to give us a call anytime at 501-725-CARE for more information.