The holiday season can trigger a lot of worry, stress, and sadness in elderly adults.
They may be thinking of the distant past and missing loved ones who hare no longer with them. Sometimes, the winter weather and festivities spotlight their limited abilities and mobility because of disease, injury or illness. Regardless of the cause, the facts are that many elderly adults could use some holiday happiness. Not only will laughter and good times boost their spirits, its good for physical health as well.
Studies show that positive social interactions that include laughter and good feelings can really improve a person’s physical and mental health, not just for the short-term, but for long-term wellness.
Family caregivers and home care providers are often so focused on the senior’s immediate needs that they overlook the importance of socialization and having a good time. Just look at all the health benefits that seniors can enjoy when family caregivers expose them to social events, holiday celebrations and positive interactions throughout the holiday season.
1. Laughter lowers blood pressure
Stress hormones can cause a rise in a person’s blood pressure and over time, this can cause health problems. Hormones like cortisol and adrenaline trigger physical symptoms in the body, including higher blood pressure. Laughter lowers a person’s stress hormone level, which in turn helps regulate the blood pressure to healthier levels.
2. Laughter increases oxygen
It’s impossible to laugh without breathing deeply and this can really help oxygenate the bloodstream. When that oxygen-rich blood travels throughout an elderly person’s body, it can stimulate the internal organs and cause them to perform more efficiently.
3. Manages pain
Many seniors live with chronic pain, but laughter can decrease pain levels or at least the perception of pain. Feel-good hormones called endorphins have an impact on the body’s pain receptors, reducing the nervous system’s activity. The result is that seniors produce their own painkillers for a while, which aids in managing chronic pain.
4. Ease muscle tensions
Happy feelings and laughter provide the body with a release, which can help to relax tight muscles and joints. When people are more relaxed, they tend to be more comfortable and therefore might avoid certain tension-related health issues like headaches or insomnia.
5. Boosts mental health
Those endorphins that flood the body during laughter can have a positive impact on an elderly person’s mental health as well. It’s too easy for seniors with mobility problems to become isolated and lonely. Studies show that those who are more social and enjoy a robust lifestyle are less likely to develop anxiety and depression.
It’s true that humor and laughter bring plenty of benefits to seniors of all ages and abilities. During the holiday season, family caregivers and home care providers have plenty of opportunities to help the aging adult be more social and attend events that will trigger smiles and laughter. Positive interaction with friends, family, and others in the community is a simple thing but delivers lots of long-term health benefits.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Elderly Care in Libertyville, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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