Laughter & Humor: Coping with Dementia

We’ve all heard the old adage “Laughter is the best medicine”.  When faced with difficulties many scientists and doctors will tell you to keep a cheery disposition and don’t be afraid to laugh.  While laughter is not a prescription for dementia it most definitely can cut the edge off.  Laughter and its benefits have been discussed all the way back to biblical days.

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Many Philosophers ancient and modern alike believe that laughter was core, central and vital phenomenon in the lives of people and society.  “A merry heart doeth good like medicine…” Proverbs 17:22. We change physiologically when we laugh. We stretch muscles throughout our face and body, our pulse and blood pressure go up, and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues. Many who believe in the benefits of laughter say it can be like a mild workout. Numerous studies have shown bountiful benefits of exercise and its ability to prolong the effects of dementia.[1]

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Generally speaking laughter has many great benefits on the body.  Studies have shown that laughter gets our blood flowing by expanding and contracting our blood vessels, and by sending vital nutrients and oxygen throughout our bodies – to name a couple benefits.  It has been shown that laughter helps our immune response by raising the levels of infection fighting antibodies thereby directly raising our immunity.  As well, laughter has shown to help in blood sugar regulation, relaxation and sleeping.  Laughter is just good for the soul. 

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While facing the progressives stages of the many types of dementia a laughing and light hearted disposition will help tremendously.  Many caregivers of dementia sufferers have shared light hearted and humorous stories with other to provide support and acceptance. Marie Marley is an example of such stories. She says “Alzheimer’s disease is a deadly serious topic, and deservedly so. But sometimes laughter is the best medicine. So to have a short respite from our somber caregiving duties, I’m going to tell a couple of amusing stories about my beloved, demented Romanian soul mate. Both are incidents that even he found funny, and we both had a good laugh!”[2]

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Join us the tomorrow for her stories!

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Join Evangelical Homes of Michigan, Glacier Hills Senior Living Community , Presbyterian Villages of Michigan and United Methodist Retirement Communities on Feb. 8, 2015 at 7pm at Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, MI for the screening of Glen Campbell’s “I’ll Be Me,” which shares the journey of how he and his family navigated through the unpredictable terrain of this progressive disease.

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[1] WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter?page=2

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[2] Alzheimer’s Reading Room: http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/give-your-body-boost-with-laughter?page=2

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2015-02-03T10:39:00+00:00 Uncategorized|