Dementia Sufferers' Behavior Improved By Laughter: Study
Dementia sufferers showed improvements in their behavior after being encouraged to laugh as part of a study of four hundred people across 36 nursing homes.
Patients who had amusing visits from a "humor therapist" and were cared for by staff under a "laughter boss" were less agitated, reports the Herald Sun.
"Humor therapist" Jean-Paul Bell adopted the guise of an elevator attendant to become a "humor valet" for half the residents, most of whom had dementia, for three months.
A staff member was also trained to be a "laughter boss". Acting as a control, the remaining 200 residents did not receive any extra doses of humor, the University of NSW study found.
Lead researcher Dr Lee-Fay Low said residents who received the humor therapy showed a 20 per cent reduction in aggression, wandering, screaming and repetitive behaviour.
“There's evidence to show that people with dementia still experience humor and to the same amount of enjoyment as people without dementia but they find different things funny”, Dr Lee-Fay Low said.
"I think in some facilities they are very task focused and think, 'we have to do baths, showers, food and cleaning,’” he noted.