By Phyllis DeLaricheliere, MS
Researchers are working day in and day out to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, but encouragingly more and more support and data is coming out towards prevention. One way is to maintain your brain’s health through diet, exercise and new challenges. Now add to that, laughter.
I’m not saying that having a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is something to laugh about, but it has been proven that a spoon full of laughter has a wide range of healthy benefits. Did you know that it takes more muscles to frown than smile? So, get lazy and start laughing.
There is research published that shows the benefit of laughter in lowering stress hormones, strengthening one’s immune system, increasing social interaction — which decreases depression, and helps in heart disease prevention as it eases anxiety and fear. All these benefits can aid in preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
Using laughter with people living with Alzheimer’s/dementia can reduce their anxiety, depression, confusion, and frustration. It can be used as a positive tool for redirection while at the same time benefitting the caregiver as well.
With a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s/dementia, my concern focuses on the caregivers, for these quiet, hardworking angels suffer so much in silence when they need not to. Currently, according to the CDC, 87% of Alzheimer’s patients are being cared for by home caregivers, primarily family. In my research, it showed that 74% of those caring for someone with Alzheimer’s/dementia take ill or pass away first. Again, these angels ignore their own needs emotionally, physically, and nutritionally. Stress is their number one enemy! Therefore, how do we combat this? Laughter. Through laughter, caregivers can improve their mental health, and strengthen their own immune system to help them stay healthy, and relieve stress.
So, learn to laugh, find ways to look at your situation no matter how stressful, and practice laughing. Fake it till you make it and the stress will melt away.
“We don’t laugh because we are happy
We’re happy because we laugh”
About the Author
Phyllis A. DeLaricheliere, MS is a sought after speaker/educator and is getting ready to publish her book: “Embracing the Journey: Knowing your Inner Hippie”. Her passion for finding solutions to the Dementia epidemic has turned into a crusade and she is humbled to be able to touch so many caregivers out there that she respects so much. To book her for a lecture or get on her pre-published waitlist for her book, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.