LAUGHTER:  GOOD FOR EVERYONE!

Great caregivers never forget the magic of humor!

 

Article by Stacie Hart, Human Resources / Recruitment Analyst

 

We all know that laughter is great for us.  Its numerous benefits include the reduction of stress, improved blood flow, cardiovascular exercise, immune system strengthening, lowering of blood pressure, and decreased pain.  One study actually shows that laughing for 20 seconds is as beneficial to the human lungs as three minutes on a rowing machine!

 

 

Obviously, caregiving is extremely important and serious business.  Nonetheless, it can be quite beneficial to both caregivers and to clients to embrace opportunities for humor.  While the work can feel heavy on responsibility, sacrifice, and stress, it doesn’t have to be that way all of the time.  In fact, a healthy dose of humor now and then can make things easier on clients and caregivers, in that it can lead to meaningful moments which distract from stress, pain, and hardship.  These magical moments create great memories we can later look back on with a smile, perhaps even repeating the story of the moment, thus spreading the smiles even further!

 

 

How can these moments of humor be added to our workdays?  We can get creative!  We can subscribe to a joke-of-the-day list, buy a funny/comical calendar, watch old classic comedies and sitcoms together, or go online and watch silly animal videos (if you’ve never seen one, some of those are absolutely hysterical!).

 

As well, inherently (and unexpectedly) humorous moments do occur in caregiving.  Seniors’ unprompted remarks and light-hearted antics can really enliven caregivers’ routines.  One caregiver tells a story of a stroke victim s/he was caring for.  The caregiver was assisting the individual to indulge his favorite activity, golfing, by squatting down to hold the patient’s belt whenever he took a swing.  During one of these swings, he nearly fell right on top of the caregiver, but s/he was able to safely catch him.  The client made a hilarious remark and they both laughed uproariously for several minutes.

 

 

Another caregiver, looking after his elderly father, soon discovered that his dad had apparently lost all inhibitions, and had begun blurting out whatever happened to be on his mind.  Some of these remarks were so hilarious, the son began sharing them on social media, earning him over a million followers and, eventually, a book deal.  The result was a published volume of the father’s musings, which reached the New York Times Bestseller list.

 

Studies show that trying to see the funny side of things whenever possible improves overall well-being by lightening the mood.  It’s an effective way of coping with difficult emotions that come with caregiving and with aging.  One research study showed that over 75% of recurrent cancer patients, and others facing terminal illness, aligned the value of laughter and humor to be as high as that of being pain-free.

 

 

It may feel like resisting humor during your workday is a way to avoid being seen as mean or disrespectful, or like you don’t take the job seriously.  In reality, part of being a wonderful caregiver is to allow yourself to laugh at funny, ridiculous, and/or ironic circumstances, and to encourage an older adult to laugh along with you.

 

Humor is a necessity in life!  If you find yourself struggling to find relief from anxiety and stress triggered by your work, perhaps you can let yourself embrace the humorous moments!

 

 

 

As a start, please take the opportunity to enjoy THIS short VIDEO with Jeff Foxworthy:  “You Might Be a Caregiver, if…”

 

 

 

SOURCES

 

Uncited author, 2022.  BENEFITS OF EMBRACING HUMOR AS A CAREGIVER.  Tuscan Gardens Senior Living blog.

 

Marlo Sollitto, 2022.  The Lighter Side of Caregiving:  Appreciate the Humor.  Aging Care article.

 

The DailyCaring Editorial Team, 2021.  FINDING HUMOR IN CAREGIVING TO EASE TENSION AND BOOST MOOD.  Daily Caring article.

 

 

AARP Pledge and Triad HHS EEO Commitment

 

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