Laughter good medicine for dementia

2011-09-29 12:19

kalahari.com

Sydney - Laughter may be good medicine for elderly dementia patients - and best of all, it doesn't have side effects.

Australian humour therapist Jean-Paul Bell was originally a clown doctor working with sick children, but now he makes the elderly laugh through a programme called Play-Up.

Bell was also the key humour therapist in a Sydney-based study into the impact of humour therapy on mood, agitation, behavioural disturbances and social engagement in dementia patients, a study that showed those who took part seemed happier.

"The whole idea behind the Play-Up programme and what we're doing at the Arts Health Institute is encouraging them to play more because we believe that they've got potential to keep playing right until you take your last breath," Bell said.

He set up the Arts Health Institute to train aged-care staff in fostering playful relationships with their patients, particularly those with dementia.

Effect

The study, called the Smile study, took place over three years, involving 36 nursing homes and 400 residents.

Dressed in a bright blue jacket with brass buttons and shoulder tabs, Bell uses a combination of games, jokes and songs - accompanying himself on a ukulele - to get the elderly to laugh.

In addition to seeming more content, the dementia patients involved in the study seemed less agitated by 20%, said lead researcher Lee-Fay Low at the University of New South Wale's School of Psychiatry.

"Twenty percent sounds like a small effect but it's about the same amount, the same effect as you would get if you gave them an antipsychotic medication - medication you would use to treat schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder," Low said.

According to the University of New South Wales, dementia rates are expected to double in Australia to about 450 000, mainly due to an ageing population.

About 6.5% of people over 65 and 22% of people over 85 have dementia, an umbrella term used to describe up to 60 different conditions causing similar neurodegenerative changes in the brain.

Best of all, the dementia patients were not the only ones who benefited from the study.

"The staff were invigorated, they felt that their jobs were enhanced," said therapist Joanne Rodrigues.

"They were part of something that they could see the real benefits [of]."

Read more on:    health
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Cape Town - 14:05 PM
    Road name: N2 Inbound
    ACCIDENT blocking lanes at the Airport Interchange - DELAYS from Borcherds Quarry Road exit
  • Tuesday Kuils River - 12:48 PM
    Road name: R102 Van Riebeeck Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Nooiensfontein Road
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Mobile iDrifta

The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile DVB-H receiver...

From R99.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something may come up to alert you of your security needs. It may be that you need to create a better structure for your finances...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.