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Thread: Humour therapy for agitation in dementia

  1. #1
    Community Member Prot's Avatar
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    Oct 2008

    Default Humour therapy for agitation in dementia

    Humour therapy is as effective as widely used antipsychotic drugs in managing agitation in patients with dementia - and avoids serious drug side effects, a new study to be presented this week at the National Dementia Research Forum shows.

    The first major study of the impact of humour therapy on mood, agitation, behavioural disturbances and social engagement in dementia patients found both short term and persisting decrease in agitation, according to lead researcher, Dr Lee-Fay Low, a Research Fellow at UNSW's School of Psychiatry.

    The SMILE study across 36 Australian residential aged care facilities involved the recruitment and training of a staff member to act as a "LaughterBoss" who worked with a humour practitioner with comedic and improvisation skills - not unlike "Clown Doctors" used in hospitals to aid recovery and lift mood in children.

    Jean-Paul Bell, the key humour therapist in the SMILE study, has set up the Arts Health Institute (AHI) to train humour practitioners and aged care staff. The AHI's core program, Play Up, provides a playful relationship with residents and staff in aged care, focusing particularly with people with dementia.
    Yet inside there is this perpetual nagging doubt;
    the feeling we are possessed by a 'subtle lack of togetherness''.

  2. #2
    Distinguished Community Member Jo6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    South Carolina


    Hello Prot. This sounds interesting and I can see how it could help in many ways. Maybe I'll look into this more. I remember when my Mom had brain surgery and we had just found out it was malignant. I was just standing in the hall wringing my hands. I looked up and this huge bear, "his/her name was Buddy Bear"was just standing there holding their arms out to me. I can still feel the warmth and love I felt that morning. Yes, I can see it could be helpful.

    Thank you, Jo
    Did you ever know that you're my hero and every thing I would like to be I can fly higher than an eagle
    'cause you are the wind beneath my wings

    for my brother Ben

  3. #3
    Distinguished Community Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006


    Prot,this is interesting. afterall laughter is the best medicine. wonder if any chance US is doing this?

  4. #4


    Dementia is a broad category of brain diseases that cause long term loss of the ability to think and reason clearly that is severe enough to affect a person's daily functioning.But , i don't know anything about humor therapy.

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