“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”
These words from funny man George Burns turn out to contain more than a little health wisdom. It’s the type of health wisdom that’s particularly pertinent if you’re worried about developing Alzheimer’s or Dementia – or if you’re the caregiver for someone who has either one of these debilitating conditions.
According to this article in Alzheimer’s Care Today, there’s been some really exciting research done, focusing on the connection between a positive attitude and the impact of dementia. A group of seniors was dividing into two sets. One set was encouraged to think of themselves as young and energetic; the other group was not. When both groups of seniors were asked to perform some simple tests, the ‘younger’ group outperformed the older – by a significant margin.
Now some of you may be saying, “They needed a study to tell you that?” Conventional and folk wisdom teaches us that we’re only as old as we feel – and most of us have met that ninety-year old phenom who’s still as sharp as a tack – and can work circles around us younger whippersnappers.
What’s fascinating is that the science is finally catching up with the conventional wisdom. Psychoneuroimmunology studies the mind-body connection, and how our emotional state can impact our physical health. By being proactive about our emotional state – and this is where the judicious use of humor comes in – we can make a positive impact on our overall wellness.
This is great news for anyone with a chronic health condition. In What’s So Funny About Diabetes?: A Creative Approach to Coping with Your Disease, you’ll find lots of hands on practical information that can make a real impact in your health care. If you’re dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or you care for someone who does, you’ll find that many of the techniques in there translate to your situation.
The ability to laugh – and to see the funny that abounds in our environment – plays a pivotal role in the ability to stay young. Staying young means staying healthy. Humor can help make that happen. It’s amazing – and amusing! – every time!