Although nobody likes to feel sad, millions of Americans aged 65+ wake up feeling lonely, depressed, or unhappy every day. Not only do those negative emotions keep them from living life to the fullest, but aging-in-place seniors who are unhappy are also at higher risk for developing health problems that lower their quality of life and threaten their independence. If there’s an elderly loved one in your life who could use a little cheering up, here’s why putting a smile back on their face with a little humor can be essential for their continued health and wellbeing.
Why Do Seniors Feel Sad?
When that special senior in your life is feeling sad and lonely, it’s usually for one or more of these reasons:
- Loss of a spouse, close relative, or dear friend
- Being newly diagnosed with a terminal illness
- Poor mobility
- Chronic medical condition
- Financial difficulties
- Losing their driving privileges
- Cognitive decline caused by dementia or Alzheimer’s
- Feeling unwanted or no longer needed
Researchers have found a strong correlation between a senior’s sense of wellbeing and overall health. The more negative and unhappy an older adult is, the more likely they will get sick, feel stressed out, or socially isolate themselves.
How Humor Benefits Elderly Adults
On the other hand, seniors exposed to humor and laughter tend to enjoy these health benefits as a result:
- Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression by lowering cortisol (stress hormone) levels
- Strengthens the heart and abdominal muscles, which aids breathing, blood flow, and circulation
- Encourages physical activity and exercise
- Lowers elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Strengthens their immune system
- Improves mental acuity and memory, which helps prevent dementia
- It leads to new socializing opportunities and healthy friendships
As you can see, laughter truly is the “best medicine” for your elderly loved one!
Comedic Relief Tips for Informal Caregivers
As an informal caregiver, you don’t have to be a professional comedian to make your loved one laugh. Here are some easy ways to turn their frown upside down so that they will enjoy a higher quality of life:
Tell a few jokes
Whenever you visit your loved one, come prepared with a good joke. If that works, buy a joke book or show them how to watch funny videos on comedic websites like the Laugh Factory. An early show at the local comedy club can also be a laugh-inducer but be sure that the performer’s material is age-appropriate.
Try laughter Yoga
You’ve probably heard about the benefits that Yoga provides to a practitioner’s body and mind. Now there are even laughter Yoga, or “Hasya Yoga,” classes. In general, laughter Yoga is a fun, healthy form of exercise that’s safe for most seniors.
Reminisce old photos
Notably, for someone living with dementia, seeing old photos that capture funny moments shared with family and friends is a great way to make them smile again. Better yet, if they are interested in reconnecting with those family members or old friends, arrange a get-together at a local park or restaurant.
Take them dancing
Many older adults have fond memories of listening to their favorite songs while dancing the night away with significant others. Make your loved one laugh again by taking them dancing at the local senior center, or maybe put on some music and dance with them right at home.
Find them a new pet
If your senior is otherwise healthy and mobile enough to care for a pet, find them a small dog or cat to keep them company. Not only will a newfound furry friend encourage your loved one to stay active and make them feel needed, watching a puppy or kitten is a sure-fire way to bring a smile to their face!
In-Home Caregivers That Love Bringing Humor Into Elderly Adults’ Lives
Providing an aging loved one with comic relief isn’t easy when you’re busy or live far away. As a locally owned and family-operated provider, Colonial Home Care Services makes it easy for families to keep their aging loved ones happy and safe— even with little notice in an emergency. We at CHCS take great pride in carefully selecting and thoroughly screening our caregivers to ensure all have the right skills, knowledge, experience, and personality.
As a premier home care provider serving Orange County, Long Beach, Mission Viejo, and surrounding communities, CHCS has been providing peace of mind to those we serve for over 25 years. To learn more now about our award-winning home care services or to schedule a FREE in-home care assessment for a senior in our service area today, please visit us at www.colonialhomecareservices.com.