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Laughter for Alzheimer's Prevention

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerAugust 13, 2014

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.

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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Alissa Sauer

Alissa Sauer

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