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The Benefits of Laughing for Seniors

Regardless of age, laughter and humor continue to be an important element in all our lives. Both staff, caregivers, and residents at Maplewood Senior Living not only need laughter but appreciate it to help alleviate stress, clarify thought processes, create common social bonds, and redirect behaviors.

According to, “Laughter establishes or restores a positive emotional climate and a sense of connection between two people. In fact, some researchers believe that the major function of laughter is to bring people together – the more social a person is and the more social support a person receives, the more likely that laughter will result from that social connection. Mutual laughter and play are an essential component of strong, healthy relationships. By making a conscious effort to incorporate more humor and play into your daily interactions, you can improve the quality of your relationships.”

Psychology Today talks about other benefits, “it reduces blood sugar levels, increasing glucose tolerance in diabetics and non-diabetics alike.” An article from the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine has piece which notes that “given that laughter and humor is a key element to happiness and is often used as a therapeutic tool for depression, both traditionally and more recently in the form of “Laughter Yoga” it could potentially be used to counteract the effects of depression and aid in new approaches to lifestyle change.”

Holly Michaud, the Lifestyle Director at Maplewood at Brewster told us about their Humor Based Programs that can be found throughout the day at their community. “We are careful and respectful in how we express it – but always looking for a way to add joy and laughter to our residents’ lives. It can’t be phony… must be genuine… and must be meant to put residents at ease rather than feel uncomfortable. Humor and laughter are natural parts of our relationships throughout the community and just as important as any other element of our daily interactions!”

Programs at Maplewood Senior Living that regularly focus on the benefits of laughing are:
a. Laugh Out Loud – a weekly program that features famous/classic comedians; comedy skits; trending You-Tube videos; life’s funniest moments; bloopers, etc. Offered following mid-day dinner before transitioning into more serious programming.
b. Wit & Wisdom – A discussion of truth found in famous/funny idioms and proverbs
c. Comedy Club – A cocktail party with featured resident comedians and “Pass the Hat” joke-telling
d. Brewster Flats (resident chorus) performances – Always include an element of my joke telling that everyone looks forward to “booing!”
e. Knowledge Quest/Brain-Body Boost Programs – Incorporate an element of humor to enhance brain function and release endorphins
f. Currents Events Discussion – Sometimes required to end on a positive note!
g. Special Events – Select residents (and staff) perform in character (L’il Abner; Scarecrow; deli owners at Pub Party; Mob Boss; Gumdrop at Christmas) all to create an interactive atmosphere of humor.
Humor and laughter also offer some surprises. A resident at Brewster, Chuck Rosenbach, is a “regular” character for special events. He loves to dress up as different characters and puts great effort into crafting his costumes to give residents a good chuckle. Other residents have quite a repertoire of great jokes and a wonderful delivery style. It gives them great purpose and self-worth to be asked to share jokes. Giving them the opportunity to express humor and spread the health benefits of laughter is absolutely contagious within the senior living community.

Explore the Health Benefits of Laughter at Maplewood Senior Living

At Maplewood Senior Living, we know how important laughter is, especially for those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. That’s why we provide our residents with stimulating programs that get them laughing. If you’re interested in learning more about our offerings or to schedule a tour, please feel free to contact us here.

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1 Gorham Island Rd

Westport, CT 06880

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