You may have heard the expression that laughter is the best medicine. It turns out that might be true, especially for seniors. Discover why you should surround yourself with people who make you laugh.
The Importance of Laughter
While laughing can certainly brighten one’s day, it can also do a lot more. For seniors, laughing can be serious business when it comes to their overall health. Some of the benefits of laughing include the following:
- Improving your immune system – Laughing can actually boost the immune system in older adults.
- Lowering your cholesterol and blood pressure – As you age, your chance of having high blood pressure and high cholesterol increases. However, laughing can help you reduce both. When you laugh, more oxygen gets into your blood stream which has a positive effect on your circulation.
- Working your muscles – When you laugh, both your abdominal muscles and your diaphragm get a workout. Exercising these muscles is a great idea for any senior but super important if you happen to suffer from chronic bronchitis or asthma.
- Increasing your endorphin levels – Your endorphins are your body’s pain killers, so when you laugh, you are increasing these natural pain reducers. You might notice that any pain you are dealing with is decreased slightly.
- Decreased depression – Anyone can suffer from depression and anxiety, but for senior’s, depression can lead to more serious ailments. Anything you can do to decrease anxiety, stress, or depression is a good thing. When you laugh, you increase the dopamine levels in your body, which is nature’s way of lifting your overall mood.
Social Benefits of Laughter
There’s nothing better than sharing a good joke with a friend or family member, but laughing with someone comes with some other benefits as well. Seniors laughing together tend to improve their communication skills and form closer bonds with those around them.
People often take a less confrontational approach with those they laugh with, and laughter can break down cultural barriers as well.
Laughter can also help seniors talk about uncomfortable or embarrassing health issues by defusing the tension or embarrassment with a joke. This is especially true for men who can have a more difficult time discussing health issues.
For older women, laughter is a way to deal with stress and to feel as if they are being supported in social situations. Not to mention, a little laughter tends to go hand-in-hand with flirting, so for senior couples, laughing is a great way to keep the spark alive between them.
So, with that in mind, there is no time like the present to get started. An older man walks into the library and goes up to the librarian and says, “I’ll have a cheese burger and fries, please.” The librarian says, “Sir, you know you’re in a library, right?” The old man says, “Oh sorry… (in a whisper) …I’ll have a cheeseburger and fries, please.”