Due to the rise in life expectancy there is an ever growing population of senior citizens who long to find better health, emotional comfort and solace. With the spread of families moving away from other family members for work or life-style choice the elderly can find themselves alone and as mobility decreases a decrease in social contact often follows. This can lead to loneliness, depression and further health issues.
Faced with age related troubles the older generation can find their physical and mental faculties decrease and some can find their capacity to understand humour reduce due to dementia or other conditions.
Under such conditions Laughter Yoga is ideal. As well as the obvious health benefits provided by the release of endorphins it can also provide an emotional bonding and is one of the most powerful tools against depression.
Seniors can often find it difficult to laugh without a reason and most are not aware of the fact that you can so this is where Laughter Yoga helps them and gives them the tools to start living a life full of joy again. Laughter Yoga does not require any mental abilities and everyone understands the language of laughter. It really is suitable for everyone. Some might find the thought of it silly but it’s not just about laughter. It’s about connecting, physical touch, talking and listening.
This is a great article that shows what a truly amazing difference laughter, playfulness and silliness has on older people and well worth a read: http://www.rebeccabrowncoaching.com/blog/life-lessons-from-a-laughing-senior-group
Benefits For The Elderly
Adds More Laughter To Life
Learning that we don’t need jokes or humour to laugh is very empowering and can give the elderly a very useful tool for dealing with all the difficulties that come with ageing.
Scientific studies have proven that Laughter Yoga increases the net supply of oxygen to the body and brain which energises us and gives us a sense of well-being. A lack of oxygen to our body cells is one reason we fall sick frequently. So combine the laughter exercises with the yogic breathing and we have a great combination.
The release of endorphins will boost their immune systems and lighten their mood. The endorphins promote healing both physical and psychological.
It can sometimes be difficult to maintain a positive mental attitude when our health suffers and loved ones and friends pass away. Laughter Yoga changes a person’s biochemistry in a way that supports good mental health regardless of their circumstances. Their enhanced mood will have a ripple effect on those around them too.
Laughter Yoga promotes a strong social bonding with friends, relatives, care givers and neighbours. This helps to decrease loneliness and improves quality of life.
Laughter Yoga can give a reason and purpose to living fully every day. It can be transformational.
What happens in a session for the elderly?
I like to arrive early to meet and greet those taking part – just getting to know them a little before the session.
Sessions can either be done seated or standing or both in some instances and will last between 30 and 45 minutes but I will tailor the session to meet their needs so if they require a longer or shorter time that is fine.
There will be a warm up with clapping and breathing exercises and often some singing.
Laughter exercises will then follow interspersed with some yogic breathing.
The session will end with either some gentle meditation or singing/chanting.
If you have a group or residents that you think might be interested in and benefit from Laughter Yoga please get in touch.
Here is a short YouTube clip: