by Yolanda Webb
“Act as if what you do makes a difference...It does” - William James
Getting older comes with its ups and downs. For some people, life after 65 represents the golden years, but for many, those years can be filled with loneliness, aches and pains, poverty, unexplained illnesses, and a plethora of doctor visits that can make life itself really hard. While there are many options in caregivers, the best caregivers are those that understand that one of the best ways to help someone feel better is also the simplest. Laughter. Bringing laughter and light into the life of a senior can often alleviate many of the pains of growing old. Here are a number of reasons why laughter and light heartedness may have been lost, and why laughter may be the best medicine:
As we age, we often lose touch with the people that enriched our lives the most when we were younger. Friends may move away for retirement or have medical problems of their own that can make it harder to stay in touch. Just as friendships and community participation are important parts of growing up, they are also essential for us as we grow older.
While there are many senior opportunities to connect, some seniors, like those who are bed fast / bed bound, may not always have the chance to reconnect with the community behind the walls of their own homes. Getting involved can be hard at first. Helping the senior or disabled person to focus on activities they’ve always enjoyed such as games, singing or card playing, can help them reconnect with that laughter and light heartedness they thought was long gone.
Helping the senior or disabled person to connect with church or community groups that may be amenable to doing home visits can help the individual make new friends while enjoying an afternoon or evening of laughter.
The people we have around us can easily influence our own outlook and attitudes. Working with a senior who may already be experiencing the pains of loneliness or depression can only be exacerbated if we bring our own problems or negative attitudes into their lives. If you have negative friends, family members, or outlook on life, they could be harming those we serve. Look for ways to bring more laughter and light into your daily life as your share the joy of laughter with someone who needs our help..
Many seniors feel they have little control over their circumstances, but simply changing your focus when we serve and support them can bring welcome relief. As caregivers and those who serve we must always try reminding ourselves every day of the importance of laughter, and you may be able to affect change in those around you.