Laughter Is The Best Medicine

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Two new studies on mental health in nursing homes are raising questions about whether it’s better to leave ’em laughing, or get ’em dancing.

In separate work, researchers found that residents responded positively to what the researchers (unsmilingly) called “humor therapy” and to dance therapy.

In the first, Australian researchers looked at the Sydney Multisite Intervention of LaughterBosses and ElderClowns (SMILE) program, where a comedian performed weekly before residents, and a home staffer was trained to “incorporate humor into daily care.”

Researchers found that the comedy bits “decreased resident agitation after 12 weeks of intervention.” Better, residents remained calmer for 26 weeks after the jokes began rolling out.

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