Study: Laughter good medicine for dementia patients

September 29, 2011 07:31

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

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

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

"The whole idea behind the Play-Up program 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.

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