It’s often said that laughter is the best medicine. According to a growing body of research, that’s truer than anyone may have realized. Here are some health benefits your senior loved one can enjoy by finding the humor in life.
1. Lowers Blood Pressure
Laughter is good for heart health in general. Numerous studies have found that laughter reduces blood pressure significantly. While the long-term effects of laughter on blood pressure aren’t yet known, middle-aged and elderly people participating in a recent study had their blood pressure go down an average of 6 mmHg immediately after laughing. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. Irving Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
2. Acts as a Natural Painkiller
Laughing triggers the release of endorphins, which are responsible for that “feel-good” effect. Endorphins are natural painkillers. According to a 2011 study conducted by Dr. Robin Dunbar and a team of researchers, laughter really does increase resistance to pain, while simply feeling good in a group setting doesn’t.
3. Reduces Stress Hormones
A 2006 study found that mirthful laughter increases protective hormones. According to a more recent study, even anticipating laughter can reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body. Anticipating laughter reduces the levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and DOPAC by 38 percent to 70 percent. Chronically high levels of these hormones weaken the immune system over time.
4. Burns Calories
Laughter can even burn excess calories while supporting heart health. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that laughing boosts heart rate and calorie burning by up to 20 percent. Laughing for only 15 minutes a day burns up to 40 calories, which is enough to shed 4 pounds a year. Getting regular exercise is another great way to burn calories in the golden years. However, some seniors may need assistance with physical activity. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare.Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
5. Boosts the Immune System
Laughter works to strengthen the immune system in two ways. Chronic stress is linked with a weakened immune system. Along with dramatically reducing stress hormones circulating in the blood, laughter prompts the release of neuropeptides, which fight stress.
6. Fights Depression and Isolation
Laughter is believed to be an evolutionary trait designed to bring humans closer together. It can boost mood through shared experiences and creating a sense of social cohesion, according to a study of depressed senior citizens. Laughter works to counter feelings of alienation and isolation that may lead to depression. Laughter is beneficial for caregivers as well. Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you’re caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. Irving families who want to prevent burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation.To speak with one of our friendly Care Managers, give us a call today at (817) 591-1580