Family caregivers and their senior loved ones should be asking this question.
Are we having fun yet?
If not, why not?
What can we be doing differently to answer this question “yes”? Or, even better, an emphatic “YES”!
It has often been said, and many times confirmed by research studies, that laughter is the best medicine for what ails you and can even result in increased brain and body function.
Laughter brings healthy changes to our senior loved one’s body by strengthening the immune system, increasing energy and even reducing pain. It can help our seniors relax, increase the blood flow to their brain and heart, and add back zest to their life (and yours as a caregiver).
As family caregivers of seniors, our lives are filled oftentimes with drudgery and day to day tasks. We are constantly moving to complete one task after another such as the wash, the dishes, the chores, the appointments, or just getting food or medicines into your elder.
Yes, we do it out of love, which is often the fuel that keeps us going, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it from time to time – and enjoy some relaxed, happy time with the senior for and about whom we care.
Taking a breath and stopping to smell the proverbial roses can make a great difference in your family life.
Bringing Smiles to Caregivers’ Faces
- Sit down together and watch a funny movie like the Marx Brothers in Duck Soup, Walter Matthau in Grumpy Old Men, Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby, any Charlie Chaplin film just to name a few. Your senior loved one probably has a few favorites that you will find enjoyable too.
- Read a joke book out loud,sharing a new joke every day. Set a particular time of the day to share your joke so that you can all look forward to that special time.
- See how many knock knock jokes you can remember or make up a few to bring a chuckle into your day.
- Sing a song you love; try a round where you each sing a verse while the other sings theirs. Guaranteed to bring a smile of remembrance!
- Share a family story when you did something funny as a child like getting your finger stuck in the door of the outhouse on a family camping trip and your parents had to rescue you with dish soap in the dark of night!
- Watch an old TV program like Abbott and Costello or The Three Stooges or Our Gang cartoons that bring back childhood joy!
- Go outside and take a stroll looking for birds, bugs, pets and sweet smelling flowers. Walk hand in hand or arm in arm and savor the moment.
- Using a mirror, take turns making funny faces at each other. Who can make the silliest face?
- Have a watermelon seed spitting contest, who can spit the farthest?
- Go Fly a kite (literally)!
- Read the comics together.
- Count your blessings and jot them down on a piece of paper so you can read them back aloud when the mood needs lightening.
- Suck on a lollipop or popsicle.
We would love for you to add your family favorites to this list!
Don’t forget, your life as a caregiver can be challenging every day – especially if caring for your senior loved one is just one part of your life – unless you find ways to relieve your burdens.
Looking on the sunny side can help relieve boredom for your senior and put a positive spin on what might otherwise be a bleak day, not to mention the health benefits for you both.
A smile is a frown turned upside down! Go out and have a great day!