One of the things carers often lose in their relationship with a husband or wife who has dementia is the ability to laugh. Having a bit of fun together often becomes a thing of the past. Because the carer’s role is a full-on 24 / 7 commitment, it can mean they rarely have time to spend with anyone else and so the chance to laugh deserts them entirely.
Ask a carer who is stressed out by their partner’s dementia when they last had a good laugh. The chances are they’ll look completely mystified and say they really can’t remember – and this is a serious loss. Laughter has many benefits: it improves mood, is good for mental health, helps muscles to relax and – perhaps most important to those who are under pressure – it reduces stress! It’s impossible to be stressed when you’re consumed with laughter.
Too bad we can’t just turn it on for ourselves. Laughter seems most prevalent when we’re with a group of friends having a good time. Between them they keep the mood buoyant and everyone goes home feeling better. If you’re a carer, ask yourself when was the last time you did this?
If laughter is no longer a part of your life, this may be where the Wednesday Group comes in. They meet every week and activities are based around making friends, being active and having fun. One of their early members was brought by her daughter for the first time. When the daughter returned, staff said that her mum seemed to have enjoyed herself – to which she replied ‘Yes, we knew we’d got the right place when we heard the laughter.’
If you’d like more information about the Wednesday Group, contact Jan on 01777 709974 or 07969 180067 or email Janwilliamson133@gmail.com.