The Power of Chuckles: Exploring the Benefits of Laughter for Seniors


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You have probably heard that laughter is the best medicine, and the good news is the statement is no longer just an adage. Instead, the healing power of laughter is a force to be reckoned with! Humans can gain more healthful benefits from laughter than we thought, with several studies claiming that laughter is a pathway to improve your wellness and well-being, from burning calories and supporting immunity to promoting cognitive health and warding off loneliness. Explore the benefits of laughter for seniors and how it can keep seniors elevated and healthy.


6 Reasons Why Laughter May Be the Best (and Free!) Medicine for the Health of Seniors

6 Healthful Benefits of Laughter for Seniors

The following are 6 reasons you should introduce more laughter into your parents’ lives.


Laughter Helps the Body Exercise


With age, seniors need to develop an exercise routine, but some forms of exercise might no longer be advisable. That’s why laughter is an effortless and joyful way to support seniors in staying healthy, maintaining their mental sharpness, and living longer.

For many years, scientists have constantly been digging into the perks of laughter, whether or not they may be as beneficial as exercise. So, can laughing give the body a workout? The answer seems so, but let’s not associate such benefits with physically rolling on the floor laughing or laughing until your stomach hurts. A fair number of studies have recognized that the body responds to laughing as much as it does to actual exercises in the same way. It’s been confirmed that laughing 1000 times is equivalent to 15 minutes of cycling. It means that repetitive laughter with such glee can contribute to the body’s fitness, breaking down tension, burning calories (10-15 minutes of laughter can help exert 50 calories), and lifting moods with abundant air going in and out of your lungs.


Laughter Boosts the Immune System

Another marvelous health benefit of laughter that has intrigued many scientists is that it boosts the immune system. Whether you believe it or not, laughter is the powerful gateway to more robust immune systems that help the body resist the invasion of harmful substances, according to the renowned health researcher William Fry, M.D. Following his discovery, Dr. Fry showed that T-cells released by the spleen, a disease-fighting weapon in the adaptive immune system, are associated with the mechanism behind a robust immune system. When foreign particles are detected, many white blood cells are recruited to fight and destroy bacteria, viruses, pathogens, and even cancerous cells. Given the exceptional benefit, encourage your parents to connect with their inner child and practice cracking jokes.


Laughter Beats Depressive Symptoms


While the correlation between laughter and mental health is complicated beyond our understanding, researchers have introduced many pieces of evidence to validate the cognitive benefits of laughter, as a highly-anticipated theory indicates that laughter might help cool down depressive symptoms in stressed-out people.

Laughing, praised as the best medicine, can do wonders for our health. It provides several therapeutic benefits for the body and mind. In response to joyful laughter, the body’s nervous system releases a good amount of feel-good chemicals, such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin. The increases in these natural hormones allow the body to relax tense muscles, revitalize energy levels, stimulate circulation, and ease distressing feelings for approximately 45 minutes.

By cracking up a joke, enjoying comedy shows, or any activity that induces laughter, a good laugh can help your parents cultivate more contentment and feel less anxious in stressful situations.


Laughter May Help With Dementia

For all seniors, losing memory can be the biggest fear that lurks around the corner during their retirement years. Surprisingly, laughter can be an excellent alternative treatment for the progression and severity of dementia and memory issues.

How does laughter help? According to a study published by the University of New South Wales, laughter and humor are as effective as conventional medications in managing and relieving agitation and angry outbursts in seniors with dementia. The study, also known as the SMILE study, recruited 36 residents from senior facilities to work with skilled humor practitioners. At the end of the 12-week humor therapy program, it was found that agitation in the participants was reduced by up to 20%. At best, laughter is considered much safer than prescriptions as it induces no side effects. Consider implementing humor therapy as a part of the treatment regime if your parents show signs of memory or cognitive decline or are at higher risk of dementia.


Laughter Improves Cardiovascular Health

Although stress is inevitable, seniors frequently experiencing substantial stress are more likely to have higher blood pressure and develop cardiovascular diseases. As laughter is a natural remedy for busting stress and relaxing tension, laughing more can help seniors lower their blood pressure due to the widening blood vessels throughout the body while properly delivering oxygenated blood to various body parts and vital organs.

In a study experimenting with the effects of laughter on blood vessels, the group that was shown comedies had their blood vessels contracting and operating normally. Conversely, the blood vessels of participants watching dramas were tense, with signs of blood circulation restrictions. This means a functional blood flow can protect heart health and halt the risks of cardiovascular implications.


Laughter Increases Quality of Life and Positivity


Even before the pandemic, isolation and loneliness had been ongoing issues faced by millions of seniors.

Unfortunately, as of right now, it doesn’t go away even though times have changed. More and more seniors are leading a sedentary lifestyle and having less time to maintain social interactions and stay in touch with their children and families. Introducing more chuckles to your parents’ lives is a great way to improve their quality of life, increase positive vibes, and uplift their spirits. By sharing jokes and exciting stories, your parents can form stronger bonds with their friends, fighting off feelings of alienation.

Although it is entirely normal to experience ups and downs in life, having more humorous moments and embracing a sense of humor allow your parents to cultivate more positive attitudes towards the life waiting ahead.

If you have questions about the benefits of laughter or any topics discussed here, connect with us and learn more. 

At 12 Oaks, our team of caring professionals is dedicated to keeping residents safe, engaged, and connected to their families and friends while leading fulfilling lives. 12 Oaks senior living communities are an ideal place to enjoy the encore season of life.

For questions or to schedule a personalized tour, don’t hesitate to contact us. 


Searching for senior living help? At 12 Oaks Senior Living, we would love to learn more about your unique needs and the opportunity we may have to help you meet them. Our blog is one of the valuable resources we provide to inform and encourage seniors to lead fulfilling and thriving lives. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

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