Laughter really is the best medicine – especially as you get older


As we get older, maintaining a sense of humor and finding joy in laughter becomes not just enjoyable but also crucial for overall well-being. Here are 5 compelling reasons why laughter really is the best medicine:

1. Physical health benefits of laughter for elders

Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. These endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. For elders dealing with chronic conditions such as arthritis or back pain, laughter can provide a welcome distraction, literally taking your mind off the discomfort.

Hearty laughter that leaves you gasping for breath boosts oxygen intake and stimulates circulation, which can improve cardiovascular health. It’s the equivalent of a mild workout for the heart and lungs, producing benefits similar to light exercise. Laughter also exercises facial muscles – good for keeping wrinkles at bay!

Elders who laugh frequently often report better sleep patterns, improved appetite, and a greater sense of fulfillment in their daily lives.

2. Makes us feel good

Elders often face challenges such as loneliness, anxiety or depression – particularly if they live alone or have health issues. Laughter acts as a powerful antidote to these negative emotions, by promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels.

The effects are similar to taking anti-depressants. Laughter has been shown to activate the release of serotonin, a component of the most common types of antidepressants. Although the effect may not last as long as that produced by medication, laughter fosters a positive outlook on life, which makes it easier for elders to cope with difficult situations.

Sharing laughter with others is even more beneficial, as it fosters social connections and strengthens relationships. In group settings, such as in senior living communities or clubs, laughter creates bonds and a sense of camaraderie among peers. This social support network is invaluable for mental health and emotional stability.

3. Improves brain function

Believe it or not, laughter can actually make you brainier! Many different areas of the brain are engaged when we laugh, stimulating mental processes and enhancing memory.

For elders concerned about cognitive decline or dementia, activities that induce laughter can help maintain mental sharpness and improve overall brain health.

4. Improves quality of life

Ultimately, laughter improves our overall quality of life, not just for elders, but for everyone. Young children are well aware of how good it feels to laugh and giggle. But as we get older, we tend to take life more seriously.
Taking time off to watch a hilarious Tiktok video, or sharing jokes on WhatsApp can really lift your mood, increasing energy levels, and encouraging a more hopeful outlook on life.

5. Easily Accessible

The beauty of laughter is its accessibility in daily life. Light-hearted books and funny movies are readily available. Reminiscing about humorous experiences and sharing jokes with friends are other easy ways to encourage laughter.

Caregivers and family members can play a significant role in creating a joyful environment that encourages these activities.

Encouraging laughter in the lives of elders is not just enjoyable for everyone, it’s essential for holistic health and happiness.

Contact us for details of our ‘Conversation Cards’ and linked activities for Mandela Day. Share in the conversations, joy of memories and laughter by emailing for details.