HEALTHY LIVING
06/04/2014 05:44 pm ET Updated Oct 28, 2014

Alzheimer's Disease And The Power Of Laughter

Witnessing a loved one’s decline in mental health, especially with a disease like Alzheimer’s, can be one of the most emotionally challenging life experiences. As symptoms worsen, family members often feel helpless, frustrated and overwhelmingly stressed in trying to make the most out of an impossible situation.

The Caregiver’s Voice founder Brenda Avadian and Chicken Soup For The Soul author Amy Newmark joined HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani today to discuss how support groups and laughter can provide families some relief as they cope together with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

“First when he had him move into our home, it was more like a buddy system,” said Avadian about her father. “We thought he was just a guest and visiting us, and it was fun. But as the disease progressed, it became a great challenge, and what ended up happening for us is I had to start going to a support group, something that I honestly didn’t think I needed... But they became my family because they understood. They understood when I told my stories. We could cry together, we could share tears of joy together, we could get frustrated together, but we shared together and they gave me strength.”

In discussing the benefits support groups can offer families dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, Newman also mentioned the important role laugher can play in the process.

“There are moments that are funny,” she said. “After all there’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy… You need to use humor and you can use that humor in a support group and feel safe. No one will think you’re being inappropriate… We know that our loved ones are in there somewhere and they need that joy. We still need to give them that joy and join them in their new reality.”

For more, watch the full HuffPost Live clip in the video above.

CONVERSATIONS