Seniors – Institute For Aging Research

Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife

Today about one in eight Americans is older than 65 and this segment of the population is not only increasing, but also living longer than ever before.

Between 2010 and 2030 the number of adults older than 65 is expected to double, and life expectancy will be almost thirty years greater than a century ago. Worldwide, by the year 2050, the number of people older than 60 will outnumber children 14 years old and younger.

While advances in medicine and improvement in standards of living responsible for this change are all positive, what will these new found years mean for those who are living them, as well as the population as a whole? This question drives the research going on at the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife.

The mission of IFAR researchers is to maximize the functional potential and quality of life of adults as they age.

Institute for Aging Research

Affiliated with Harvard Medical School, the Institute for Aging Research is the largest gerontology and geriatrics research facility in the country based in a clinical setting.  Institute scientists work to discover the mechanisms of aging diseases and disability, which leads to the prevention, treatment and cure of disease, advances the standard of care for older people, and informs public decision-making. Their vision is to transform the human experience of aging by ensuring a life of health, dignity and productivity into advanced age.

From the Institute’s world-renowned musculoskeletal research, to the Aging Brain Center, to social research that measures the success of our systems of care at home and abroad, the Institute’s multidisciplinary aging research faculty, promotes scientific investigation that considers the complex relationship between biological, social and psychological factors that influence how well we can all live in old age now, and in the future.

Institute for Aging Research strength is the multidisciplinary nature of its faculty, which includes both social and medical research scientists.

Common age-related conditions:

  • falls
  • urinary incontinence
  • confusion
  • physical decline
  • depression are the result of multiple interacting factors such as multiple organ system abnormalities, drugs, social situations, and psychological problems.

Better understanding geriatric syndromes, and finding new treatments and preventions, requires the collaborative effort of a multidisciplinary team. In addition, the efforts of IFAR scientists are enhanced by Hebrew SeniorLife’s long-standing relationship with many academic institutions within Boston’s rich research community, including its affiliation with Harvard Medical School.

As a result of all of these qualities, the Institute for Aging Research has been able to attract outstanding National Institutes of Health-funded scientists. The results of their studies are regularly accepted for publication by leading peer-reviewed journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Active areas of research include:

  • clinical geriatric syndromes such as falls
  • syncope (fainting)
  • delirium (acute confusion)
  • congestive heart failure
  • osteoporosis
  • osteoarthritis
  • Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders
  • resident assessment and care models in nursing homes
  • improving the quality of end-of-life care
  • the cost and quality of housing and community-based systems
  • organizational care models for seniors
  • the development of instruments to measure quality of life and functional outcomes
  • tools to better assess seniors at risk of cognitive and functional decline.

At its best, humor is a tool for maintaining perspective on life’s difficulties. The ability to laugh and enjoy the ironies and twists of the world around us is one of the great human coping skills.

Humor may be the best medicine against life’s trials and tribulations . . . but it may also have some health benefits, as well.

Experts at Hebrew SeniorLife say that humor-often in the form of a good, hearty laugh-can help the mind and body in several ways by:

  • Relieving physical tension and stress;
  • Boosting the immune system, including reducing stress hormones and increasing the activity of immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies;
  • Releasing endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals; and
  • Improving blood flow and the function of blood vessels, reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

In fact, a recent Vanderbilt University study showed that 15 minutes of laughing can burn up to 50 calories!

You don’t have to be able to tell a joke or funny story well to benefit from a healthy sense of humor. HSL experts suggest the following ways to maintain your sense of humor:

  • Avoid jokes that depend on stereotypes and denigration of others;
  • Learn to laugh at your own foibles before you point out someone else’s;
  • Watch a funny move or television show regularly;
  • Tell a good joke if you want to; if no one laughs, that’s their problem.

While scientists continue to study the health benefits of humor, studies have shown that we are 30 times more likely to laugh when we’re with other people. People who laugh a lot, researchers say, may just have a strong connection to the people around them, which, in itself, may have health benefits, including an improved quality of life. So, go ahead and have a good laugh.

Source: http://www.hebrewseniorlife.org/hsl-resources-humor

Laughter Yoga / Laughter Therapy is a system of moderate exercise with no yoga poses to learn, using pranayama yogic breathing with laughter for no reason that directly positively affects many of these areas of concern. Click For List Of Benefits

Richard Taylor, a Certified Laughter Wellness Instructor and Certified Laughter Yoga Leader leads groups of Seniors in 30-45 minute Laughter Sessions that promote:

  • Community
  • Childlike Playfulness
  • Increased Sense of Humor
  • Positive Shift In Attitude
  • Relief of Depression through endorphin release
  • less colds with improved immune system
  • relieves stress
  • improves motor skills
  • Exercise – Even to those who cannot stand
  • oxygenates the body for less disease
  • lowers blood pressure
  • improves heart function
  • Creativity
  • Memory – Association
  • Cognitive Abilities
  • Left Brain-Right Brain Functioning
  • Overcomes Fear
  • Creates Meaning
  • Insomnia
  • The list is very long!

Richard Taylor offers Laughter Yoga Wellness Therapy for Seniors

Call or e-mail to inquire about our Senior Laughter Therapy Programs.

For mobile Seniors (anyone from 8-150 years old) attend a Free Laughter Yoga Wellness Class

One such study:

Effects of laughter therapy on depression, cognition and sleep among the community-dwelling elderly.

Source

Department of Family Medicine, Kyungpook National University Hospital, Daegu, Korea.

Abstract

AIM:

To investigate the effects of laughter therapy on depression, cognitive function, quality of life, and sleep of the elderly in a community.

METHODS:

Between July and September 2007, the total study sample consisted of 109 subjects aged over 65 divided into two groups; 48 subjects in the laughter therapy group and 61 subjects in the control group. The subjects in the laughter therapy group underwent laughter therapy four times over 1 month. We compared Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), Short-Form Health Survey-36 (SF-36), Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) between the two groups before and after laughter therapy.

RESULTS:

There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics between the two groups. Before laughter therapy, the GDS scores were 7.98 ± 3.58 and 8.08 ± 3.96; the MMSE scores were 23.81 ± 3.90 and 22.74 ± 4.00; total scores of SF-36 were 54.77 ± 17.63 and 52.54 ± 21.31; the ISI scores were 8.00 ± 6.29 and 8.36 ± 6.38; the PSQI scores were 6.98 ± 3.41 and 7.38 ± 3.70 in laughter therapy group and control groups, respectively. After laughter therapy, the GDS scores were 6.94 ± 3.19 (P=0.027) and 8.43 ± 3.44 (P=0.422); the MMSE scores were 24.63 ± 3.53 (P=0.168) and 23.70 ± 3.85 (P=0.068); total scores of SF-36 were 52.24 ± 17.63 (P=0.347) and 50.32 ± 19.66 (P=0.392); the ISI scores were 7.58 ± 5.38 (P=0.327) and 9.31 ± 6.35 (P=0.019); the PSQI scores were 6.04 ± 2.35 (P=0.019) and 7.30 ± 3.74 (P=0.847) in both groups, respectively.

CONCLUSION:

Laughter Therapy is considered to be useful, cost-effective and easily-accessible intervention that has positive effects on depression, insomnia, and sleep quality in the elderly.

© 2011 Japan Geriatrics Society.

PMID:
21241447
[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21241447

CONTACT:

Richard Taylor, CLYL, CLWI
Certified Laughter Yoga Leader
Certified Laughter Wellness Instructor

ATLANTA
– LAUGHTER – YOGA
5555 Glenridge Connector
Suite 200 (2nd Floor)
Atlanta, Georgia 30342 USA

Office Phone: 404-889-1923
Fax: 1-866-551-1253

Web: www.atlanta-laughter-yoga.com
E-mail: richardtaylor5555@gmail.com

Laughter Yoga is a complementary health practice that supplements normal western medicine, not replaces it.
Check with your Health Care Professional if you have any concerns. Do not stop any treatments without consulting your Health Care Professional.

 

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