Seniors are at an increased risk of social isolation and depression, and at least one-third of older adults have at least one chronic condition. While many seniors turn to medications to manage their symptoms, dozens of studies have documented the very real health benefits of laughing, which can improve everything from pain, stress, and anxiety to dementia symptoms and social isolation. Here are some ways in which seniors can benefit from “laughter therapy”.
Chronic stress contributes to depression, anxiety, and heart disease and weakens the immune system. Among seniors, common sources of stress include money, health problems, the loss of a loved one, and changes in living arrangements. Vancouver home care professionals read a recent study confirmed that laughter reduces stress hormone levels by up to 70 percent and reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Combat Memory Loss
A study published in 2014 found that laughter and humor may actually combat memory loss among seniors. Studies have already confirmed that cortisol, a stress hormone, negatively impacts memory and learning among older people. The recent study, presented at the Experimental Biology Conference, found that laughter works to reduce cortisol levels and it can result in significant improvements on memory tests.
Lowers Blood Pressure
More than 50 percent of seniors have high blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and atherosclerosis. A study on seniors recently found that, immediately after mirthful laughing, seniors experienced an average 6 mmHG drop in blood pressure.
Reduces Dementia-Related Agitation
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have limited effective treatment options. According to one recent study, laughter may be as effective as antipsychotic drugs in reducing anxiety and agitation among dementia patients. During the study, humor therapists worked to make 400 seniors with dementia laugh more often. At the end of the 3-year study, they noted a 20 percent drop in anxiety, which is comparable to antipsychotic medication without the harmful side effects.
To learn more about promoting senior health and wellness, please reach out to the knowledgeable staff at Home Care Assistance. Using our holistic Balanced Care Method, we help seniors maintain a healthy diet, regular physical activity, and a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Call and speak with a dedicated Care Manager who can share more information and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.