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How Laughter Can Encourage Senior Health

By Nikhil Mehta, 9:00 am on

Laughter brings people together and creates bonds through the intimate sharing of happiness, but it also has positive physical effects on the body. Researchers from the Loma Linda University in California performed studies to determine the biological effects of laughter on a group of seniors and found that laughter truly is the best medicine. Palm Desert live-in home care providers explain these findings and how they benefit senior health.

Enhances Memory

One group of seniors watched 20 minutes of funny videos while the control group sat silently, read or listened to music. When tested for memory recall, the seniors who were exposed to humor improved by more than 40 percent while the control group improved by approximately 20 percent. Researchers also found that laughter enhanced the group’s learning ability, which is why laughter is important for seniors who receive dementia or Alzheimer’s home care in Palm Desert.

Reduces Stress Hormones

When comparing cortisol levels of both groups of seniors, the scientists found that the volunteers who enjoyed humorous videos had significantly lower levels of the stress hormone. Laughter is known to diffuse harmful emotions and allow people to see situations from a different perspective. The body also reaches a state of relaxation that can last up to 45 minutes after a good, strong laugh.

Inhibits Cardiovascular Disease

Researchers from the University of Maryland discovered that having a good and regular laugh can protect the cardiovascular system. Laughter enhances vascular circulation and increases blood flow, which prevents the likelihood of developing clots that lead to stroke and heart attack.

Boosts Energy Levels

Scientists who performed a study at Vanderbilt University discovered that anyone who engages in laughter for up to 15 minutes each day burned up to 40 calories. Often times, after a bout of laughter, individuals also report having renewed energy and vitality.

Relieves Pain

Laughing stimulates the brain to release endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain-relief chemical that additionally boosts an individual’s mood and state of mind. The combination of muscular and connective tissue relaxation with endorphins bathing the central nervous system proves beneficial in alleviating the pain associated with the many medical conditions due to aging.

If you’re looking for more ways to enhance your senior loved one’s health and wellness, Home Care Assistance can help. We are a dedicated provider of flexible elder care Palm Desert families can rely on, whether you need us for a few hours a week or on a live-in basis. Expertly trained caregivers are only a phone call away and can help your loved one with everything from household chores to personal care and companionship. Call an experienced Care Manager today at (760) 345-0001 to learn more about our care programs and schedule a free consultation for your senior loved one.