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We’ve all heard it said that laughter is the best medicine. And a good laugh feels great, too! Numerous studies demonstrate the positive effects of laughter in the nursing home. Here are just a few:
- Increases energy
- Provides natural pain relief
- Soothes anxiety
- Increases oxygen intake
- Improves sleep
- Decreases depression
- Fosters communication
- Improves circulation
- Promotes socialization
- Increases staff satisfaction
- Reduces blood pressure
- Lifts the spirits of those around us
So, what can we do to encourage laughter in the nursing home?
- Ask residents to tell their favorite jokes.
- Plan a silly dress-up day for staff and invite residents to dress silly, too. (clothes on backward or inside out, funny hats, wild hair, etc.)
- Watch classic funny TV shows such as “I Love Lucy”, “Mr. Ed”, “The Beverly Hillbillies”, or “The Andy Griffith Show”.
- Invite residents to join you in blowing bubbles.
- Begin an activity by sharing comics from the daily newspaper.
- Practice “Laughter Yoga”. Never heard of it? Check out this link.
- Start the day’s activities with a funny joke or a humorous quote.
- Watch videos of babies laughing.
- Invite a clown to come in and provide entertainment. Or you can dress one of your staff in a clown suit and have them make balloon animals.
- Hold a hula hoop contest.
- Post funny cartoons where everyone can see them.
- Figure out what everybody’s name would be if spelled backward.
- Watch videos of puppies or kittens playing.
- Ask staff to put on a silly skit. For ideas, think about the fun skits you did when you were at summer camp as a child.
- Invite someone to come in and do stand-up comedy.
- Fly paper airplanes.
- Create a scrapbook of funny cartoons.
- Try to say tongue twisters.
- Play charades.
How do you promote laughter at your nursing home? Please share your ideas in the comment section!
Here’s a fun book of good, clean humor from Reader’s Digest to share with your residents: