I have been doing laughter yoga programs with seniors for the last several years but since July, I have been doing laughter yoga with seniors and Altzheimers patients
I started at 1 facility as a trial in July. They ended up wanting me 2 x month, told the other 2 facilities owned by the same group, and now I am doing it regularly at all 3 assisted living residences. It feeds my soul as well as the residents. You know, all my years as a nurse on the hospital floors, I would go into the rooms and see the patients and while I gave out my medicine and did my treatments, I understood that they really wanted someone to sit with them, and play and talk to them and just care. People were depressed and frightened. I remember many a night where I promised a patient I would come back later and talk to them more and then the evening went on and I would be busy and never came back. It always bothered me. So when I do the laughter yoga programs with the seniors in facilities, I have the time to play with them, sing, and talk with them and care. And they respond. It feels like a whole different kind of nursing care.
Yesterday, after I did a program with Altzheimers residents, I asked the director of the unit, if they noticed any difference in behavior of the residents after my programs. I told her I am still learning and fascinated by this myself. She was overwhelmingly enthusiastic and told me that the residents are usually in a better mood and easier to handle for the rest of the day. Sometimes it will last 2-3 days after. She told me she was the one who told them they needed to bring me back. She had never seen anything like this. At another place, after a program, I asked directions to the bathroom. A resident pointed me in the right direction. When I came out, a staff member said it was the most coherent thing she had heard her say.
Yesterday, after doing a laughter yoga program with the residents at one assisted living facility, many of them expressed appreciation and gratitude and asked me to return. It is true - laughter is the best medicine!!!