Engaging at Home™

How to learn, laugh, and create when you are the designated care partner for a loved one

Laughing is good for seniors
Caring for a loved one in a home setting comes with a unique set of challenges, including helping the person you are caring for have a life of meaning and purpose rather than simply existing.

Engaging at Home™ helps home care partners, whether they are family members or employed, help loved ones and clients move beyond surviving to flourishing. One of the ways to do this, particularly with people who have cognitive impairment, is with laughter. According to an article on the Blue Zones website, laughter has the power to help people physically, socially, and cognitively.

In fact, a major study out of Australia showed that “humor therapy is as effective as widely used antipsychotic drugs in managing agitation in patients with dementia—and avoids serious drug side effects,” according to this article on the Science Daily site. It explains, “The SMILE study found a 20 percent reduction in agitation using humor therapy, an improvement comparable to the common use of anti-psychotic drugs.”

Care partners often take what people living with dementia say very seriously. But this article on the Next Avenue site reveals that it’s all right to joke and be silly. If a person asks the same question repeatedly, maybe a humorous response will work just as well or better than giving a rote reply every time. It refers to a Journal of Holistic Nursing Study that shows humor creates “a coping mechanism that establishes trust, even as memory and logic fade,” the authors noted.

As the article on Next Avenue states, telling jokes is not effective because people with dementia often don’t “get” the punchline. Instead, care partners or hired comics “use storytelling and improv techniques—like songs, props and questions—to engage people.” People also can experience happiness and engagement on fun outings where they laugh with someone.

Not to mention, laughter has positive biological effects, including the release of endorphins and improved blood pressure. This is true for anyone, but when working with people with cognitive impairment, this physical benefit combined with the emotional engagement that humor offers can make a huge difference in their quality of life. (And, it also helps care partners with their own mental well-being!)

Engaging at Home™ blends lifelong learning with creative and expressive activities to create experiences that encourage recall and curiosity. Laughter is an integral part of this creative process and helps people thrive.   

Engaging at Home™ is dedicated to inspiring your loved one with lifelong learning. By learning, creating, and expressing, we help them not only survive, but thrive. Reach us via email or by phone at (602) 418-5196.
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