Though laughing feels great at any age, it has specific physical, mental, and emotional benefits for seniors. Oakville home care experts recommend finding ways to make your elderly loved one laugh as often as possible for the following reasons.
High Blood Pressure Is Reduced
The elderly are at an increased risk of high blood pressure. A 2009 study by the Maryland School of Medicine found laughing increases blood vessel elasticity. This reduces the force of blood against arterial walls and prevents hardening of arteries, a major cause of heart disease and stroke.
Stress Hormones Are Lowered
Laughter can help reduce the secretion of cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine. Sustained high levels of these three major stress hormones can lead to:
High blood sugar
Tight Muscles Are Relaxed
Reduced physical activity can lead to muscle stiffness. However, laughter stimulates muscles in the respiratory system, abdomen, and back, relieving tension throughout the body.
Immunity Is Boosted
Each burst of laughter produces chemicals that protect against illness and disease. These include antibodies, natural killer cells, and white blood cells. Some cancer centers even include laughter therapy in treatment plans to enhance the healing process.
Memory Is Strengthened
Laughter reduces the risk of age-related memory loss, more commonly known as “senior moments.” According to a 2014 study by Loma Linda University, laughter leads to neurochemical changes in the brain that sharpen memory.
Learning Is Enhanced
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, altered connections between brain cells causes cognitive decline over time. Keeping the mind active generates new brain cells and restores neural connections. Studies show laughing helps the brain process information and acquire knowledge, making it important for seniors receiving Oakville Alzheimer’s care to find reasons to laugh regularly.
Aggression Is Diffused
The frustrations of aging can prompt hostility. This is especially prevalent among seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Laughter can soothe your loved one’s anger, helping him or her feel calm.
Endorphins Are Released
These chemicals have beneficial effects on both the body and emotions. Endorphins relieve the aches and pains of arthritic joints. Emotional pain can make your loved one feel guarded, threatened, and insecure, but endorphins stimulate friendliness and forgiveness, and they also promote optimism, confidence, and self-esteem.
Depression Is Reduced
Seniors can feel dejected and isolated as a result of failing health and the loss of loved ones. The right social connections can lead to laughter and elevate your loved one’s mood and ward off sorrow.
One of the best ways to keep your loved one laughing is to make sure he or she has a regular companion with a good sense of humor. At Home Care Assistance, we match a caregiver with your loved one based on personality, interests, individual care needs, and many other factors. However, our caregivers are more than just wonderful social companions. They can also help your loved one with important daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise. For more information on hourly and live-in home care Oakville seniors can count on, call one of our friendly Care Managers at (905) 337-1200 to schedule a complimentary consultation.