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Skilled Nursing Leader Explains Why Laughter is Great for Elders

Elderly woman being silly

They say that “laughter is the best medicine,” and it seems there is plenty of truth behind that adage. In fact, researchers are discovering that there are both short- and long-term benefits to getting a regular belly laugh. For elders, a unique skilled nursing environment in a real-home setting can be the perfect place to connect with other happy, humorous seniors.

Get a Workout without Lifting a Finger

Elders should get plenty of physical exercise if they are able, but experts say that a hearty laugh produces many of the same effects. For example, laughter raises your heart rate, increases blood flow, stimulates organs and muscles, and even burns a few calories. It can also reduce the release of stress hormones and cause the release of positive endorphins, both of which can elevate your mood. And, you can see how an elevated mode makes it easier to laugh, thereby creating a very healthy and positive upward spiral!

Long-Term Benefits of Laughter

If you make it a regular practice to share some laughs with friends at your skilled nursing community you can look forward to a number of long-term benefits, including:

  • Better pain management. Experts believe laughter can help minimize pain by causing the body to produce more of its natural pain relievers.
  • Enhanced immune system. When you are laughing, negative thoughts are temporarily eliminated as are the chemical reactions they produce. The positive thoughts and feelings you replace them with also increase the release of stress-fighting neuropeptides. And, a lower stress level allows your immune system to function more effectively.
  • Greater contentment. Laughter is a tremendous aid in dealing with life’s challenges and can help you find more peace in your current situation.
  • Improved mood. More than simply providing a short-term boost in happiness, regular laughter can provide a long-term elevation in mood.

 

Keep the Laughs Coming

So, how can you produce more laughter in your life? There are many ways. The most important is to surround yourself with others who understand the value of laughter — or teach your friends about it. Beyond that, you can be more intentional about exposing yourself to funny things. For example, you can buy a joke book and read a few rib-ticklers each day. Or, you can find an endless supply of humorous videos on the internet.

It also helps to spend time around young children. Their unbridled joy for life and funny antics can always produce some chuckles. Another strategy is to plan events with others in your skilled nursing community that create the conditions for laughter like a weekly game night. And, ultimately our own mistakes provide a tremendous opportunity if we learn to laugh lovingly at ourselves.

Focusing on the Bright Side

At Green House Homes at Mirasol, our caring environment is one that encourages interpersonal connection and a joyful sharing of life’s adventures. Along the way, elders find that there are endless opportunities for enjoying a laugh with good friends.

February/14/2018 | News

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