“While it might seem rather difficult – even inappropriate – to associate humor and laughter with Alzheimer’s disease and memory care,”says Lonette Bentley, Executive Director of the beautiful, newly-opened Clarity Pointe™ Pensacola,“Memory care experts now say that a dash of humormight be the best medicine for both loved ones with dementia and their frequently overburdened caregivers.”
“Memory care authorities at The Mayo Clinic and the Alzheimer’s Association say that the appropriate use of humor can provide physical as well as emotional benefits to both loved ones with Alzheimer’s and their primary family caregivers.
“For individuals with memory loss, humor has a calming effect, which reduces stress levels and related anxiety, agitation and aggressiveness. For caregivers, laughter can be a helpful coping mechanism for their stress and provide a better sense of perspective for the many challenges they face.”
The Benefits of Humor in Memory Care
More specifically, memory care therapists and researchers tell us that laughter has been shown to relieve some of the more challenging symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease while also improving the person’s mood and overall quality of life. Specifically, they say humor helps by:
- Reducing the individual’s stress
- Improving their social interactions and overall emotional state
- Allowing them to redirect negative emotions
- Easing the common symptoms of depression
- Tempering signs of aggression
Laughter Can Also Be the Best Medicine for Caregivers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and memory care specialists agree that caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be a serious drain on the individual’s time and energy as well as a risk to their physical and emotional well-being. In fact, “caregiver burnout” can be accompanied by serious medical conditions, such as exhaustion, hypertension, heart disease and depression.
The experts contend that keeping your sense of humor and encouraging laughter is one important way of keeping life in perspective and maintaining a sense of emotional balance.
AARP’s “5 Ways Humor Can Help You Cope With Dementia” and similar articles advise that humor can help caregiversto cope with their challenges in several important ways, such as:
- Relieving their stress
- Strengthening the immune system to help caregivers stay healthy
- Relieving tension and lightening the mood
- Allowing them to enjoy the moment
- Promoting mental health
- Strengthening family relationships
Ways to Use Humor with Your Loved One at Home
For some caregivers, creating a humor-filled environment can be a challenge in itself – especially during a stressful day. The fact is we are not all natural born comedians.
The good news is that useful advice is available in the form of articles such as “Humor Benefits Seniors Living with Alzheimer’s or Dementia” and similar tips from memory care therapists who have successfully incorporated humor into their care regimens. For example:
- Encourage your loved one’s sense of humor and help to create an environment of lightheartedness and levity.
- Try watching some classic comedy movies and sitcoms with your loved one. YouTube is a great resource for free videos! Search for funny videos as well as old classic TV programs, such as “The Honeymooners”, “I Love Lucy” and “The Carol Burnett Show.”
- Lighten the mood yourself by sharing a funny story or reminiscing about a humorous event that both of you had a laugh over. Most individuals with Alzheimer’s have a great recollection of past events. If your loved one has a good sense of humor, encourage it.
- Look for books, websites and people who encourage the brighter side of caregiving. A favorite book in this category is Mothering Mother by Carol O’Dell, which tells about her caregiving journey with her mother who had Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. The story is touching, but will also make you laugh.
Memory Care Committed to an Engaging Lifestyle and Living Well
At Clarity Pointe Pensacola, we utilize many different forms of proven social engagement therapies including those that involve humor, music, art, reminiscence, exercise, pets, aromas and more. Here, our person-centered programming is more than a calendar of activities – it encompasses meaningful activity and hope.
Using the HeartfeltCONNECTIONS™ memory care philosophy, our memory care-trained team uses specific tools that enable us to learn each resident’s life story to customize therapies and form strong bonds and relationships. Our programming celebrates yesterday’s accomplishments, recognizes today’s milestones and focuses on the dignity, comfort and laughter our residents will enjoy tomorrow.”
Providing At-Home Caregivers with Information, Guidance and Support
At Clarity Pointe Pensacola, we recognize the many challenges at-home memory care caregivers face, and we’re always here to help. In addition to providing exceptional memory care for loved ones with memory loss, we also offer a variety of resources for families to help them meet the challenges of caring for a loved one with memory loss while continuing to have meaningful interactions and relationships.
You can also view Clarity Pointe’s valuable memory care articles and tips for at-home caregivers that address a variety of helpful topics that you can put to use today.
Clarity Pointe … Our Difference is Clear
Clarity Pointe’s Specialized Memory Care “Living” Neighborhoods are truly changing lives for those with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias – and for those who love them. At Clarity Pointe, our mission is to ensure our residents lead connected and rewarding lives.
Unlike other providers that offer a secure memory care wing in a skilled nursing or assisted living center, Clarity Pointe Pensacola offers three freestanding, purpose-built Memory Care communities that are solely and entirely dedicated to Memory Care Assisted Living. Our communities blend luxurious surroundings with specialized care that is individualized to each resident and delivered by a compassionate, expert team of professionals.
We stay current on the latest trends and advancements in and implement them into our residents’ care plans. Always moving forward, we combine the latest in evidence-based programming with luxurious, residential living and compassionate respectful care.
For each of our residents, we offer a life that is engaging, fulfilling, inspiring and meaningful.