Laughter is an intrinsic part of life. It happens spontaneously and unconsciously. Whether you’re howling with laughter or giggling quietly, laughter does you good.
Laughter is known to be a powerful antidote to stress. However the benefits of laughter extend far beyond making you feel happier in the moment.
Laughing doesn't just lighten your load mentally, it actually induces physical changes in your body. Laughter has been clinically proven to strengthen your immune system, activate and relieve your stress response and stimulate many organs.
A good sense of humor cannot cure all ailments, but there is mounting data about all the positive things laughter can do. It's also contagious and free!
Instilling a culture of humour and laughter into long-term care facilities is good for everyone and may even improve the overall functioning and wellbeing of your clients.
A sense of humour is a quality well worth having. Norman Cousins’ 1979 book ‘Anatomy of an Illness’ brought much attention to the idea that laughter could promote good health.
There are so many proven benefits of laughter.
It is known to:
Laughter and humour positively influence the body’s healing system. Elderly residents in long-term care facilities often lack the necessary stimulation to sustain a cheerful frame of mind.
The difficulty lies in the fact that what is funny to one person may pass unobserved to another. So it is important to incorporate funny and amusing activities into your regular program that cater to all tastes.
Use a wicker basket to collect tidbits of humour. Folded pieces paper with written jokes and funny sayings, masks, silly toys, a clown nose, Groucho glasses, rubber noses, and noisemakers.
Encourage clients to dip into the Laughing basket several times a day and pick up something to share, laugh at and enjoy. Encourage relatives and visitors to do the same.
Make a deal with staff: every time they hear certain music e.g. The Macarena, or The Chicken Dance - they will start to dance right where they are! Play the music 3 or 4 times a day when clients are around.
Hold theme day parties and dress and behave accordingly
Related: Theme Day Activity Ideas
Songs for Seniors is a wonderful activity submitted by Joanne with lyrics to 80 songs for the elderly! You can find music to accompany the songs for a singalong on YouTube.
Learn to juggle balls or wear a silly hat or nose just to make people laugh.
Find a group of clients, volunteers and staff to write a profile to suit clients. It is bound to put a smile on the faces of clients. For example...
Romance is in the air today, just north of the staff room. Be warned that Scorpio singled you out for a cake-to-face altercation... Aries are gentle people prone to meddling in other people’s affairs. Heaven knows what will happen to you if you don't sing 'Three Times a Lady' at the next Residents Meeting. But don't despair, gossip has it that your cheating won't be discovered and your ex is planning a comeback.
Make paper fortune tellers with hidden messages. Many people will remember this game from their childhood.
Related: How to Make a Paper Fortune Teller
Watching babies or children play is a wonderful way to bring joy and laughter into your facility.
We'd love to hear your feedback!
What activities do you find to work well to stimulate laughter?