Bob Hope once said, “I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.” At Home Care Assistance of Centennial, CO, we find Hope’s words to be true, especially when it comes to caregiving. While caregiving can be a rewarding experience, especially when the caregiver is tending to an aging parent or loved one, it is often a task that is accompanied by responsibilities that place a great burden and stress on the individual providing care. And, if caregivers aren’t careful, this stress can lead to poor health, increased agitation and frustration, and even chronic sickness.
Even though it may seem impossible at times, it is important for caregivers to take a break during this emotionally taxing time to find humor in each day. At the very least, laughter reduces stress, and experts have found that laughter also improves health by positively affecting the immune system. The physical effects of laughter on heart rate and breathing also improves blood flow and oxygen intake which benefits overall health. With so many benefits, it’s easy to understand why laughing should be an essential part of caregiving!
For caregivers who wake up feeling overwhelmed by their caregiving duties, take a moment to stop and think about the things in life that you are grateful for, the things that make you smile. This small act can help put you in a positive frame of mind, starting the day off with optimism instead of worrying about what challenges you’ll run into. Once you build up the habit of waking up with a positive thought each day, you will find it easier to find humor in the situations around you, focusing less on things that may be stressful.
It is also okay to laugh while providing care for a loved one, especially when providing dementia or Alzheimer’s care in Centennial. Whether from the unprompted remarks or unexplained antics of an aging parent or grandparent, caregiving is filled with unexpected humorous moments. While there is a part of you that feels guilty for laughing or is afraid to laugh out of disrespect, laughing is an essential part of caregiving to help an individual stay upbeat perspective in spite of some of the more difficult physical and emotional challenges associated with the job.
Another way to find humor in caregiving is to talk to other caregivers. Your humor may not come across as funny to those who have never been in your situation, but is likely to be understood and easily relatable to other caregivers. Those who have gone through similar situations instinctively know that your laughing comes from a place of both pain and love. Seek out caregiving groups in your community or join an online forum. This allows you to express yourself, while getting feedback from others who understand your journey.
At the end of the day, laughing is a coping mechanism that can help caregivers through this difficult journey, and no caregiver should be ashamed or guilty for finding humor in the day. To find out other caregiving tips or to learn more about respite care options, contact a Home Care Assistance Care Manager at 303-957-3100 and learn about our flexible care schedules including Centennial live-in care.