FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN / The Best Medicine, After All /
It is always refreshing when science is on your
side. For years, I’ve been talking about the
power of laughter for family caregivers. It may not
be the first conversation to have with someone who
just received the call in the middle of the night
that something traumatic has happened to a loved
one, but eventually they will smile. And if today’s
12th annual Fort Lauderdale Fearless Caregiver
Conference is true to form, we will be sharing
laughs as well as tears and wisdom with one another.
The truth is that there are some things that will
make family caregivers roil with laughter which
non-caregivers could never understand. Another
powerful reason for joining a support group…but that
is another rant.
As I mentioned above, statistics are now on my side
when discussing the power of humor for family
caregivers. A new study finds that laughing a lot
can actually make you healthier by lowering blood
pressure and bad levels of cholesterol.
Dr. Lee Berk, from Loma Linda University,
California, who led a study on the healing power of
laughter, said emotions and behavior had a physical
impact on the body. He concluded that ''the
body's response to repetitive laughter is similar to
the effect of repetitive exercise.''
Volunteers who were asked to watch 20 minutes of
comedies and stand-up routines registered a dramatic
drop in stress hormones, blood pressure and
cholesterol. They also had their appetite
stimulated, as happens with exercise. This means
that ''laughercise'' could be a way to reduce heart
disease and diabetes. It is especially important for
the elderly, who may find it hard to do physical
''As the old biblical wisdom states, it may indeed
be true that laughter is good medicine,'' he said.
Amen and ha-ha-ha.
Share your funny caregiving story