Humor Therapy Calms Dementia Patients

Many patients with Alzheimer's or another dementia show frequent signs of agitation which can include verbal and physical aggression. This can be very challenging behavior for caregivers to manage. A new study conducted in 36 nursing homes in Australia tested humor therapy as a method to decrease agitation. Staff members were trained to be a "Laughter Boss", learning to develop a playful relationship with dementia patients. The so called SMILE study found these relationships to be as effective in calming agitation as psychotropic drugs, without the harmful side effects, and showed a 20% reduction in agitated behaviors.

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Published on December 16, 2011.