Laughter Yoga Helps Seniors in Age Care Homes
It has been proven that Laughter Yoga is an ideal exercise for the elderly as one does not need any cognitive abilities to laugh. It combines simulated laughter exercises with deep breathing and clapping, which is very easy for seniors to follow. Conducted in a group, these exercises break down barriers between people, thereby creating a caring and sharing network which helps to alleviate depression and feelings of isolation, highly predominant among the elderly, especially those residing in aged care homes (RACHs).
A study was conducted to identify how Laughter Yoga can improve the older participants’ mood, blood pressure and pulse. Though many therapies have been implemented to reduce their melancholic condition and anxiety and improve emotional well-being; Laughter Yoga is one such exercise that works on the physical, mental and emotional state simultaneously, thus improving the mood and generating positivity and happiness. It helps enhance the quality of life of older people and result in physiological and psychological health-related beneﬁts.
In this study, six weekly Laughter Yoga sessions of 30 minutes each was conducted at various senior care centers by a trained laughter therapist. Residents were seated in a circle to maximise eye contact with each other and the session was conducted in the regular format consisting of warming up, stretching, deep breathing, laughter exercises and relaxation. Each participant’s blood pressure and pulse were measured just before and immediately after each session and at the end they were asked if they enjoyed the session.
The program resulted in measurable improvements in happiness scores, positive and negative mood scores, and in blood pressure. The drop in blood pressure was an expected result of the physical activity. Most residents enjoyed Laughter Yoga as it induced a sense of well-being and helped them feel connected with each other. These ﬁndings reaffirmed that regular practice of laughter results in a sense of well-being, brought on by the release of endorphins.
Though there were some limitations, this pilot study contributes to a growing body of evidence that indicates that Laughter Yoga has physical, social and emotional health beneﬁts for older people living in residential age care centers. It provides opportunities for residents to have fun, enjoy themselves and to be involved in low-intensity physical aerobic activity in a safe and accessible way, all of which helps to enhance their quality of life.