While the saying, “Laughter is the best medicine” may seem antiquated, recent studies show that laughter really does trigger certain effects in the body that contribute to overall health and wellness. Medical experts that study positive attitudes and humor have documented several positive effects on the human body. This is especially true for elderly adults who might be the most in need of putting the “happy” into “Happy Holidays.”
How Happiness Benefits the Body
The winter holidays can be so much fun for families and friends to gather and enjoy each other’s company. Laughing during good times can really help elderly adults with their physical and mental health. Studies show that laughter and happiness are linked to stress-relieving hormones in the body that are triggered when people are exposed to funny or fun-filled situations. These hormones counteract stress hormones and leave the person feeling more calm and peaceful. Because chronic stress is harmful to the body, getting rid of it boosts health.
There are many different things that can bring a smile to an elderly adult’s face that are centered on celebrations. While the holiday season can be stressful for some, family caregivers and home care providers must identify any opportunities for humor and happiness on behalf of the elderly adult.
Humor for Seniors Relieves Pain
Medical studies on laughter also show that seniors who enjoy regular social interactions that center on laughter are less likely to struggle with chronic pain brought on by any number of health issues. Common painful conditions that seniors face include arthritis, diabetes, respiratory issues, and age-related aches and pains. Laughter and happiness certainly triggers the body to release substances that help block pain receptors and distract the aging adult from their chronic pain for a while.
From family parties to community celebrations, there are lots of opportunities for seniors to smile during the winter holidays. Family caregivers and home care providers should do what they can to facilitate an elderly adult’s exposure to friends and family during the holiday season for extra doses of happiness.
Happiness and Overall Health and Wellness
Isolation and loneliness can negatively affect an elderly person’s mental and physical health. By contrast, socializing and belonging to a group can really transform an aging adult’s overall well-being. Not only does laughter and happiness lower blood pressure and stress, they improve a senior’s mental health by lowering the risk of anxiety and depression. Even if the aging adult faces numerous health challenges, participating in holiday activities and events with loved ones is well worth the effort.
There’s no doubt about the benefits of laughter and happiness for seniors, especially during the holiday season. Family caregivers and home care providers have the responsibility of finding ways to expose the aging adult to holiday humor and loving laughter.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Plainsboro, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care of New Brunswick today. Call (732) 607-8870.