The Importance of Laughter in Long Term Care Facilities

The Importance of Laughter in Long Term Care Facilities

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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.
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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.

Sometimes Laughter is the Best Medicine

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.

10 Benefits of Laughter

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:

  1. Reduce tension
  2. Promote cooperation
  3. Build trust
  4. Inspire a positive outlook
  5. Remove barriers between people
  6. Increase motivation
  7. Improve memory
  8. Enhance the immune system
  9. Lower blood pressure
  10. Improve alertness and creativity

Tips for Adding Humour to your Facility

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.

10 Activities to Make People Laugh


1. Create a Laughing Basket

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.


2. Tell Jokes


3. Play Fun Group Games


4. On Cue Staff Dancing

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.


5. Themed Days

Hold theme day parties and dress and behave accordingly
Related: Theme Day Activity Ideas


6. Sing Happy Music

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.


7. Be Silly

Learn to juggle balls or wear a silly hat or nose just to make people laugh.


8. DIY Horoscopes

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...

ARIES
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.


9. Make a Paper Fortune Teller

Make paper fortune tellers with hidden messages. Many people will remember this game from their childhood.
Related: How to Make a Paper Fortune Teller


10. Invite Children to Play

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?

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Comments   Post a Comment

Vyasamoorthy 3rd Mar 2017
As I liked this article very much I forwarded it to three persons connected with elder care in dementia care facility. All of them appreciated it. One of them is a gerontologist running a day care facility. Thanks for useful tips.
Talita 6th Mar 2017
Thank you for your feedback!
Debbie 7th Sep 2016
Once again golden carers have practical ideas that bring inspiration to us all who work in aged care. Thanks golden carers for providing and sharing your knowledge.
Talita 8th Sep 2016
Thanks so much Debbie, your feedback is much appreciated!
Jessica 24th May 2016
Another one to add is visiting animals especially young animals if appropriately behaved. :) So many smiles! :)
Talita 23rd Aug 2016
Absolutely! Thanks Jessica!
Geeta 24th May 2016
I am certainly going to do these activities on my next shift. I can't thank enough to golden carers for all the ideas and tips been launched regularly. Since I become member of this site I am so glad that I can bring smile and joy to my clients. Now more laughter and giggles will spread in the AIR!!
Talita 24th May 2016
Thank you so much for your feedback Geeta, it is so much appreciated!
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