Laughing Together - Five Activities to Get Residents Smiling

Laughing Together - Five Activities to Get Residents Smiling

User Profile By Molly Wisniewski   United States

Found In: Activities Articles

Laughing together as a community is what will bring the brightest smiles to your activity. Here are five activities that encourage active participation of the whole community.
This is one of many free activities.
Golden Carers has 1000s of activities and resources for senior care.

Activity Professionals know first-hand just how much fun can be had in care homes and how vital their role is in keeping the residents in their care actively engaged.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate humour into your activities schedule, but it is your attitude and engagement in each of these activities that will bring about the most laughs for the residents.

Laughing together as a community is what will bring the brightest smiles to your activity. Here are five activities that encourage active participation of the whole community.

1. Hold a Comedy Show

A comedy show is a large group activity that resident's, staff, and family can enjoy. You will need to do some planning so here is a good place to start:

A month before the event:

  • Create a sign-up sheet for residents and staff who are willing to get up and tell jokes.
  • Promote the event with posters all around the community and add it to your activity calendar.
  • Hand out tickets to everyone - of course at no charge.

To entice staff to participate offer a lunch credit or first row parking spot to the staff member with the funniest jokes. Also, try inviting the Administrator or Director of Nursing, their support will be sure to encourage other staff members to get involved!

For the event:

  • Set up a stage for the comedians.
  • Have someone collect the tickets at the door.
  • Offer snacks and soda to the audience members.

This activity can be as elaborate as you want it to be, and offers a great opportunity for everyone to get together to have a bit of fun and a good laugh!

2. Start a Laughing Circle

A laughing circle is a group of people who come together to laugh with one another. It is a common practice in Yoga groups and is best done during the morning. So, to start the week off on the right foot schedule a laughing circle on a Monday morning.

All you need for this activity is you and the residents. Create a large circle around the activities room and once everyone is in position, start laughing!

You will probably feel very silly at first, but the giggles are contagious and five minutes in you'll most likely have the whole circle in a fit of laughter! This doesn't need to be a long activity and works best as the opening to a Trivia or Exercise group!

Sounds of laughter carry, so don't be surprised when you find other staff members cracking a smile, too!

More information about laughing sessions can be found here

3. Sing Karaoke

Karaoke Musts:

  • Karaoke is the most fun with a bunch of people. So, invite everyone!
  • Have residents and staff to sing duets together.
  • Luckily in Karaoke being able to sing isn't a requirement, so belt it out and don't be afraid to dance.
  • Choose songs both residents and staff will know. Golden Oldies are always a popular favorite!
  • Not enough microphones? No problem! Find makeshift microphones like remote controls or ladle spoons to hold as you sing out the chorus like you are Tina Turner.

If you have fun so will the residents as they will be more inclined to belt and dance themselves if they see someone else is already doing it!

4. Show a Silly Slideshow

Encourage residents and staff to dress up in their funniest outfits or hand out whatever props you have stored in your activities closet. Once they are all dressed to the nines in the silliest fashion, start taking pictures.

At the end of the week, put all the pictures together in a slideshow and invite residents and staff to the activities room to watch!

This is an excellent opportunity to have a good-natured laugh with one another and ends the week on a cheerful note.

5. Watch Comedy Classics

There are a number of popular comedy hour shows that the resident's will no doubt know and love.

  • I Love Lucy
  • The Bob Hope Comedy Hour
  • Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
  • Bringing Up Baby
  • The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet
  • Fathers Know Best
  • Gilligan's Island
  • Gomer Pyle U.M.S.C
  • The Honeymooners
  • The Jeffersons
  • The Odd Couple

Watching the classics is great for reminiscing and allows residents to share a bit of their history with the community.


Humour at Work

Laughter in long-term care is so important and laughing as a community creates a more welcoming and friendly environment for residents and staff. Staying engaged as you provide each activity is a key in ensuring the residents get a true laugh.


We'd love to hear your feedback!
What laughter activities have you found are effective?

User Profile
? Meet the author
Molly Wisniewski

Save time with 1000's of meaningful
activity ideas for every occasion.

Enter your email address to collect your free activities.

✓ 100% Privacy ✓ No Spam

Comments   Post a Comment

Susan 4th Jul 2019 Activity Director
What a good idea Gina
Gina 4th Jul 2019 Activity Coordinator
I started the Laughing Basket. Everyone gets an item out and wears it, or it may be a toy, or just a funny item. I have extra large crazy glasses, jacks, clown noses, rubber chicken finger sling shots, emoji stress ball, bubbles, etc. They seem to really enjoy the items.
Talita 7th Jul 2019
Love this idea Gina!
Lyn 24th Apr 2018 Volunteer
We sang the Laughing Policeman at our dementia cafe last week, everyone loved it and some were crying with laughter at the end of the song. We will definitely be singing it again.
I love this site, as an enthusiastic volunteer running a dementia cafe I need all the help I can get. Thank you from London.
Talita 29th Apr 2018
Thanks so much Lyn, so lovely to hear from you! x
Charlene 10th Apr 2018 Aged Care Co-ordinator
What a fantastic idea!! Ive been working in Aged Care for 18 mths now and just got promoted to become a shared Care Co-ordinator for one of our floors with 40 residents both high and low care. I absolutely love my job and want to make the residents feel happy and always engaging in different activities. So this website is wonderful for me to get great ideas from. I cant wait to start. :)
Talita 14th Apr 2018
I love your enthusiasm Charlene! Thanks so much for your lovely feedback. All the best with your new position!
Nori 28th Mar 2018 Activity Director
These ideas are wonderful! I'll be using a few of them at our "Laughter is the Best Medicine" program next month!
I recently did a bulletin board with riddles: I typed them in a large-size font and printed them out, and stapled them to the board only at their tops. Then, underneath each riddle, I wrote the answer. Passers-by just had to lift up each question to see the answer. Some of the riddles I included were: "What do you call a sleepwalking nun?" (a roamin' Catholic); "Why did the chicken coop only have two doors?" (because if it had four doors, it would be a chicken sedan); "Why did the farmer receive an award?" (because she was outstanding in her field)...you get the idea. :)
Molly 28th Mar 2018 Activity Professional & Writer
Hi Nori, I love the idea of a "Laughter is the Best Medicine" program (I'm smiling already). Thank you for sharing the riddle board idea, such a great way to get everyone involved in the fun!!
Pam 28th Mar 2018 Activity Coordinator
We are still loving Golden Cares over here in Shawnigan Lake BC
there will be a fabulous laughing circle going on this morning:) thanks for all the tips!
Molly 28th Mar 2018 Activity Professional & Writer
Hi Pam, thank you for your note. I'm so excited to hear you will be holding a laughing circle! I'd love to hear how it goes.
Charlene 14th Apr 2018 Aged Care Co-ordinator
I'd love to try this activity too, even the Comedy show would be great.
Molly Wisniewski 27th Mar 2018 Activity Professional & Writer
Molly has shared a new article: Laughing Together - Five Activities to Get Residents Smiling
No Avatar
Help