Paul offers a keynote specifically geared toward either family members or professional caregivers providing care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. This program is entertaining and fun, and gets the audience actively involved as it acknowledges the tragedy of a disease which slowly robs individuals of their memory, intellect and sense of self. Special attention is given to the special challenges imposed by caring for someone with Alzheimer’s—especially a loved one.
Throughout this presentation, humor’s impact on both the care provider and the person with Alzheimer’s is discussed. Over 11 million people now care for Alzheimer’s-afflicted relatives at home. In nursing homes, 2/3 of residents have some dementia. In both cases, it is essential that caregivers find effective ways of managing their own emotions on a daily basis in order to fight burnout and maintain the ability to provide quality care and support.
In many cases, management of behavior problems (e.g., general agitation, combativeness or a refusal to eat) is a key obstacle to providing effective care. New research indicates that finding effective tools for generating positive emotion in Alzheimer’s patients produces a significant drop in emotional distress and behavior problems.
A large body of research documents humor’s effectiveness in boosting positive emotion for people in general. And there is now research evidence that when Alzheimer’s patients watch a comedy video, there is a lasting elevation in positive mood. After 30 minutes, patients had difficulty remembering what they had just watched, but evaluations of their emotional state showed that they still felt happier. And when they are happier, behavior management problems are reduced.
The National Institute on Aging and the Administration on Aging have become convinced that caregiver interventions offer more benefit at this point than treatments available for the disease itself. As with all caregiver circumstances, the general rule with Alzheimer’s is that the caregiver must find effective ways to take care of her/himself in order to be an effective caregiver with a loved one. Humor is shown to be a powerful ally in helping assure that the caregiver remains in a positive mood most of the time. Also, patients are sensitive to the caregiver’s emotional state of the moment; and using humor or any other tool to sustain a more positive mood in both the caregiver and patient or loved one helps caregivers fight burnout/stress and provide effective care in both the short and long run
Dr. McGhee is always willing to provide a workshop on his 7 Humor Habits Program to any organization wanting one (with no increase in speaking fee). His experience, however, has been that there is no opportunity to provide a workshop in the setting in which Alzheimer presentations are provided. Please discuss this with him if you are interested in a workshop, along with a “keynote” or other general presentation.
Alzheimer’s Senior Care (NJ)
Arden Courts Alzheimer’s Assisted Living (NJ)
Brittany Farms Health Center Dementia Conference (CT)
Caregivers Conference (FL)
Southern Plantation (GA)