There were thirteen from our group of twenty-seven at lunch last week. We usually cause quite a ruckus, chattering and laughing the way ladies who lunch do. Wednesday was no different.
At one end of the table, four of the six of us talked about dementia, more specifically the dreaded “A” word, Alzheimer’s Disease. What I’m experiencing with my husband now is only one view of what others have experienced with their loved ones.
After I got home I tried to remember how many of the thirteen had been, or still are, on the same one-way road I’m on. Seven! Seven out of those thirteen women have cared for, suffered with, and lost or are losing mothers, sisters, aunts, brothers, husbands. Three more in our larger group are affected in one way or another, too.
There’s no laugh in this post today nor in any of the grim statistics that fall under the umbrella of dementia. But there are these thoughts about the importance of laughter from the Central California Chapter Alzheimer’s Association newsletter:
“There is nothing humorous about dementia. However, laughter can help dementia caregivers and improve the quality of life for those afflicted by the disease. Studies show that laughter boosts the immune system and triggers the release of pleasure-inducing neurochemicals in the brain. In terms of dementia-specific benefits, the greatest advantage of humor is that it provides sufferers with much needed mental stimulation. Humor challenges our loved ones to engage their minds as fully as possible [and] it’s also an effective tool for keeping social links active and reducing…paranoia and agitation that many […dementia patients struggle with.]
— Marcy Oswald, MFTI, Education & Care Specialist
2016 National Society of Newspaper Columnists’ contest finalist.