Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!
Topic: Caregivers- Laugher & Fun is Necessary
Many loved ones lose the capability to do activities they once loved. As caregivers, we have a unique opportunity to be innovative and help our aging care recipients to enjoy activities they once held dear.
With safety in mind, reminisce about whom you are caring for and ask what were some of the enjoyable moments during their younger years. If you are able to bring them to life, by all means, do so. Aging should never mean one should crawl into a hole and waste away. Actually, statistics and the scientific community concur that activities of the mind, body, and spirit improve cognition and physical abilities. Having fun can take on many forms. It should be an individualized viewpoint that is agreed upon, first by the loved one and their determination of ability. One might ask what constitutes fun for our care recipients. It should be open for discussion to achieve a desirable outcome.
When my mother was in her late 80s and slowing down a tad and forgetful, I would talk to her in humorous ways. I realized that seeing the funny side of things whenever possible lightened the truth that being older has its flashes of mortality. It also takes some of the caregiver stress away.
One of the many things I miss about mommy is her big laugh and a huge smile. If things were funny, she would laugh out loud. It’s weird, though, I never remember her telling any jokes, but she sure would laugh at one. My point here is humor and laughter. Laughter, which I have heard is contagious, can exercise the face and neck muscles. It is considered an activity.
Suggestions for Laughter and Fun
What are suggestions for fun and laughter in the caregiving space? Watching funny movies and eating popcorn is one recommendation. If you cannot travel out of the home environment, make it fun at home. Caution, never eat popcorn lying down. Make sure dentures are tight, and there are no swallowing problems.
Animal behavior can be pretty funny. Watching animals at home or at a zoo is an enjoyable option. Mommy and I bird watched out of the bedroom window. We would laugh at different birds that would come and go. Did you know that birds fight for territory? Blue Jays, so you know, are bullies! There are also books with pictures of crazy-looking animals and birds. Have you ever looked into an owl’s eyes and thought, what were they thinking? Sorry, I digressed…LOL.
Board games are fun and bring laughter. We played scrabble with mommy. Boy, those were the days. Some of the words were funny. Educators have an arsenal of words, and mommy was a science teacher, so she showed her skills occasionally.
Arts and crafts are also a fun way to share laughter. It also helps with eye and hand coordination, which declines in aging loved ones. As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, the theme is to be creative and find ways to have fun, and encourage laughter while caregiving. Be well! Stay safe!