Today, I have another wonderful guest writer and I hope that you will give him a warm welcome. Stephen Taylor is a successful business owner who operates the site MobilityScooters, which is full of information that can help anyone to continue to achieve the highest quality of life and mobility.
Anyone who has watched a family member struggle with Alzheimer’s disease will tell you that it’s no laughing matter. Taking that sentiment too literally might be a serious mistake, though. Today a great deal of experience (backed up by promising scientific research) has shown that laughter and humor have very real benefits for patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Obviously, laughing at something humorous is an enjoyable sensation. The latest research has shown that laughter does a great more than simply signal amusement, though. Laughing causes very real and very beneficial changes in your mind and body. Grasping humor and laughing at jokes stimulates fresh chemical interactions in the brain. Laughing also reduces your levels of stress hormones, reduces stress, and brings high blood sugar down.
In terms of Alzheimer’s-specific benefits, the greatest advantage of humor is that it provides sufferers with much-needed mental stimulation. Humor challenges Alzheimer’s patients to engage their minds as fully as possible. It’s also an outstanding tool for keeping a patient’s social links active and reducing the sensations of paranoia and agitation that many Alzheimer’s patients struggle with. Laughter can help slow the onset of Alzheimer’s and mitigate its effects as the disease progresses.
Integrating Humor Into An Alzheimer’s Care Regimen
Researchers are starting to look at the power of laughter to treat Alzheimer’s disease by employing humor in an organized fashion. A landmark study conducted by Jean-Paul Bell in Australia tracked the results of putting on weekly humorous shows for nursing home patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s.  The results were dramatic: Nursing home staff reported a significant reduction in the number of disruptive incidents their patients suffered due to agitation or paranoia. While Bell’s study was somewhat limited in its sample size, it suggests that an organized humor regimen may be as effective as antipsychotic medication when it comes to treating the agitation that Alzheimer’s can cause.
One very important factor note in Bell’s study is that overall improvements in quality of life and mental activity patients experienced were at their highest while the program of humorous skits was ongoing. Although reductions in agitation continued for weeks after the study was completed, patients’ reported quality of life fell rapidly afterward. This points to the importance of humor as an everyday part of Alzheimer’s care rather than a limited intervention.
Laughter Is For Caregivers, Too
Based on the findings of the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), over 85 percent of Alzheimer’s patients are receiving care in their own homes.  This means that the majority of Alzheimer’s caregivers are close family members struggling to help their stricken relatives while maintaining all of the other aspects of their life. This is undoubtedly a challenging situation, and virtually all caregivers suffer from elevated levels of stress. It’s important to remember that laughter can provide the same beneficial effects to Alzheimer’s caregivers as well as patients.
Finding humor in the day-to-day realities of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is not actually that hard. Caregivers who understand their responsibility to empathize with their patients can easily make the distinction between ridiculing humor and unifying humor and find plenty of occasions to laugh along with their patients. Injecting a little levity into the often-trying process of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient is a great way to strengthen the bond between patient and caregiver and celebrate the patient’s life.
Facing Alzheimer’s disease is a challenging prospect for both patients and caregivers. Not every minute of every day needs to be endured in grim seriousness, though! Taking the time to recognize the bright spots and laugh whenever the opportunity presents itself can work wonders for both those who have Alzheimer’s disease and those who care for them.