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How Smiling and Laughter Can Benefit Senior Health

Between your own approach to caregiving and the senior home care Bridgewater agencies provide, there are many different methods for promoting your elderly loved one’s overall wellbeing. No matter the state of your loved one’s health, finding ways to make him or her smile and laugh can potentially have a positive impact. Here are just a few of ways encouraging happiness can help.

Smiling Can Lower Blood Pressure

Seniors who experience high blood pressure are prone to high anxiety and stress levels, which can exacerbate heart disease and many other harmful physical conditions. However, a chemical reaction begins in our brains when we smile. This triggers the release of neuropeptides like dopamine, which causes the entire body to relax. This phenomenon has been proven to immediately reduce blood pressure.

Laughter Can Be a Natural Antidepressant

If your loved one is on medication for depression, there’s a good chance the medication is designed to increase serotonin levels. A hearty laugh releases a flood of serotonin into the brain. While even a fake laugh has been proven to temporarily raise serotonin levels, finding daily joy through authentic laughter can dramatically decrease your loved one’s depression over time.

Smiling and Laughter Can Relieve Physical Pain

The over-the-counter medications your loved one uses to treat minor aches and pains often work by activating endorphins in the brain. Smiling and laughing can trigger those same endorphins. Next time your loved one has a small headache or muscle cramp, help him or her by offering a smile. Since smiling can be contagious, there’s a good chance your loved one will smile back at you and find temporary relief. If not, try giving him or her a reason to laugh.

A Single Smile Can Diminish Loneliness

The contagiousness of a smile can also be helpful if your loved one is feeling lonely. A smile is an excellent way to attract people. Studies show that when people are smiled at, more than half the time they feel inspired to initiate additional contact with the person who is smiling. Some people even report feeling a sense of approval similar to being rewarded when someone smiles at them.

Having a companion around to bring a smile to your loved one’s face and keep a laugh in his or her heart can work wonders in promoting overall health. At Home Care Assistance, our compassionate caregivers are available 24/7 to provide companionship and assistance with a variety of daily tasks. If your loved one requires more extensive care, we also offer specialized Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care Bridgewater families trust. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our friendly Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.