Is laughter really the best medicine?
It’s an old saying, but is there any truth in the notion that laughter is the best medicine? Research would seem to say that there is.
According to research on the topic, laughter has some significant physical and psychological effects which are highly beneficial to body and mind. For older people, having a good laugh can do more for their wellbeing than all the pills and potion in the world. Here’s how laughter actually improves your health:
It reduces stress
A study by the American Physiological Society found that laughing drove down stress hormones in the body, brightening people’s mood and making it easier to enjoy life’s little pleasures. In older adults, stress and depression are a big concern, and can lead to many health problems over time. Sharing a laugh with friends and family is one way to tackle these silent diseases and put a brighter shine on the day.
It’s good for the heart
It’s said that being happy warms the heart but laughing actually benefits it in a physical sense too. Laughing expands the lining of the blood vessels, increasing blood flow around the body and helping the heart to stay healthy. We’re always keen to help our residents keep their hearts in good shape, so we, as the song goes, ‘make ‘em laugh’!
It’s a natural pain reliever
Laughing and happiness in general is known to release endorphins, powerful hormones that make you feel good inside. As well as boosting your mood, these natural chemicals are known to provide pain relief. Although no substitute for medication, these happy hormones could help people living with chronic conditions like arthritis to experience a little relief from their aches and pains.
It makes you feel relaxed
Tension and stress can build up in the body, making us stiff, achy and irritable. Laughing is a great way to release this built up stress, relaxing the muscles and improving our flexibility. Relaxation is incredibly important for older people and can help reduce the risk of falls as well as relieving discomfort.
It brings people together
One of the most important aspects of laughter for us is the social bonding that occurs when we all enjoy a good giggle together. Moving into a care home can be a scary process for an older person, and we often find a bit of fun does wonders for building relationships and helping our residents feel more comfortable here.
Here at Westgate Healthcare, our whole team work hard to provide residents with events and entertainment that will bring a smile to their faces. From magician visits to comedy nights, humorous movie screenings to singalongs, we love to make our residents laugh!
To find out what happy events are going on at your local care home, why not get in touch with them today? We’d love for you to come along and see the fun we have, as well as how laughter benefits the health of our residents.