Laughter for Alzheimer’s Prevention

There is nothing funny about Alzheimer’s disease. Though, research suggests laughter can affect Alzheimer’s prevention, help Alzheimer’s caregivers, and improve the quality of life for those afflicted by the disease. Is laughter really the best medicine? Learn more.

The Serious Benefits of Laughter for Alzheimer's

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, a disease which 36 million people live with daily. As researchers continue to search for a solution, more emphasis is being placed on prevention of the disease rather than treatment. One way to prevent Alzheimer’s is to improve the health of the brain by looking for new challenges which stimulate growth.

Laughter for Alzheimer’s Prevention

Playing, laughing and being active while accepting new challenges is a great way to keep the brain engaged and grow new brain cells, to prevent Alzheimer’s.

Researchers have also found that laughter has a wide range of health benefits which aid in Alzheimer’s prevention. Benefits of laughter include:

  • Heart disease prevention
  • Lower stress hormones
  • Ease of anxiety and fear
  • Increase in social interaction
  • Lower blood sugar levels
  • Strengthened immune system

The Benefits of Laughter for Caregivers

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 87% of Alzheimer’s patients are being cared for by caregivers at home. The sacrifices Alzheimer’s caregivers make are great, and range from less time for family and friends and lost income due to missed work, to failing to take care of themselves.

With all the stress that comes with caregiving, it is crucial that caregivers maintain a good sense of humor. Laughter can help caregivers cope by:

  • Relieving stress
  • Promoting mental health
  • Strengthening family relationships
  • Strengthening the immune systems so caregivers can stay healthy
  • Easing tension and lightening the mood
  • Allowing them to enjoy the moment

The Benefits of Laughter for Patients

People who live with Alzheimer’s and related types of dementia can suffer from confusion, frustration and depression. These strong emotions can bring anything from negative feelings to anxiety, which can often lead to behavioral problems and even aggression.

Laughter can help alleviate some of these symptoms, improving the quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s, by:

  • Allowing them to redirect negative emotions
  • Easing symptoms of depression
  • Tempering signs of aggression
  • Reducing stress
  • Improving social interaction

How has laughter benefited you or your loved one with Alzheimer’s? Share your story about how laughter has affected you or your family in the comments below.

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Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • Alissa, thank you for including the quality of life issue for those of us living with dementia. — 56yo patient, Truthful L. Kindness (yes it is my legal name).

  • Edward

    My partner (fighting Alzheimer’s) and I got a second Australian Cattle Dog (red) for ourselves and for our other Heeler. This new dog does some silly things the other one doesn’t, and it has encouraged the other dog to be playful. It has added a whole new dimension to our lives. The laughter my partner displays brings a smile to my face. The dog has no clue about the benefits she imparts to my partner. A fine addition. Anyone in a similar situation should consider finding a dog that makes their loved one laugh and smile.

    • caitlinburm

      Edward,

      Thank you for sharing such a personal story with us! It is great to hear how this new addition to your family has had so many benefits for you and your partner.

      My family has had a similar experience with our Australian Shepherd. We have been considering adding another dog to our family as it could be helpful to us while we’re dealing with Alzheimer’s and cancer this year. We appreciate your insight.

  • Callie

    My mother, currently in late-stage A.D., laughs at almost everything. She doesn’t just smile or chuckle; she belly-laughs uncontrollably. I think this is a great thing. A person with such advanced A.D. could be unresponsive, or possibly mean and violent; Mom just finds hilarity in much of what she sees and what’s said to her. It’s a joy to watch her have fun with all the mundane aspects of life in nursing home. Laughter is therapeutic, and she gets non-stop therapy.

  • Sue

    Yesterday I played Fats Waller singing ‘feets too big’ to mum it is a song she has always sing to us and she roared with laughter again when she heard it. After all the anxiety she normally has to suffer, it was beautiful to share this moment with her.

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