Here is an encouraging piece of advice for care givers who find it very difficult to cope with stressful times while interacting with aging parents or other seniors having serious medical or age related problems. Rita Clancy, a regular columnist answers their queries and reaffirms that a sense of humor is a valuable coping tool during difficult times, and laughter can be a healing and life-affirming act when dealing with the joys and sorrows of care giving.
She acknowledges that care giving is an extremely challenging task and the one strategy for coping with all these levels of stress is to bring humor and laughter into the relationship. Laughter decreases cortisol levels that rise during stressful times, lowers blood pressure and improves mood. It helps to connect the care giver with the other person and diffuse the initial point of tension, helping to create communication filled with lightness.
One such activity that is good for both of them is Laughter Yoga, where yogic breathing is integrated with laughter as a form of exercise. Apparently, researchers have found that the body does not distinguish between fake and genuine laughter, so even laughing on purpose brings health benefits.