The simple act of laughing can have a significant impact on a senior’s overall wellbeing. After learning about the various benefits that can be gained from laughter, many family caregivers in Naples will be jumping at the chance to create some humorous moments with their elderly loved ones. Here are 4 reasons to make your loved one laugh.
1. It Boosts Cardiovascular Health
Laughter reduces the amount of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol in your loved one’s body, which can help lower blood pressure. It also speeds up the heart rate and respiration, which increases the flow of oxygenated blood. A hearty laugh also provides many of the same benefits as a workout by utilizing muscles in the face, abdomen, diaphragm, back, and legs.
2. It Supports a Healthy Immune System
Laughter can help your loved one’s body fight common infections and even tumors. It increases the levels of immunoglobulin in saliva, which makes it easier to fight off respiratory infections. It can also increase the response of interferon gamma and T-cells, which are responsible for killing tumor and disease cells.
3. It Promotes Cognitive Health
A study at Johns Hopkins University showed laughter and humor boosted both memory and learning abilities. Individuals who laughed frequently performed better on tests and were more focused and alert. This may be due in part to the increased blood flow to the brain. Humor requires the use of the entire brain. When your loved one hears a joke, the cerebral cortex processes the information in the following ways:
- The left hemisphere deciphers the structure and words of the joke
- The right hemisphere makes the connections and “gets” the joke
- The occipital lobe creates a series of mental images to bring the joke to life
- The limbic system stimulates emotions like happiness
- The motor neurons in the brain lead to smiling and laughter
4. It Leads to Better Emotional Wellbeing
Depression is a common emotional health issue seniors face. When your loved one laughs, he or she automatically forgets to feel anxious, sad, or angry, even if it is just for a few minutes. Laughter helps your loved one relax so he or she can mentally recharge. It also gives your loved one the chance to create some psychological distance from his or her problems, gain perspective, and feel less overwhelmed.
It’s amazing to think something as simple as a laugh can provide so many health benefits. Laughter is just one of the wonderful things about human interaction. If your loved one needs more socialization and mental stimulation in his or her life, you can count on the caregivers at Home Care Assistance to keep him or her happy and healthy. For more information on senior home care Naples families trust, call one of our friendly Client Care Managers at (239) 449-4701 to schedule your free in-home consultation.