Weekly Newsletter

February 14, 2024


About getting old?

 Maybe not so funny about dementia…

Why is humor so important?

10 out of 10 doctors like a good laugh: 

Check out this GREAT article from Alzheimer’s Association:

“Humor Helps Maintain Dignity”

PWCI were able to engage in humor during social interactions, yet some had difficulty recognizing social cues. Further study may reveal roles of humor and laughter in adaptation to cognitive decline and holistic interventions for improved quality of life.

Caregiver tips — Issue #58

We know everything changes with dementia, including humor

Altered Sense of Humor in Dementia: J Alzheimer's Dis. 2016; 49(1): 111–119.

Good to know: Different types of dementia alter sense of humor differently.

“Are Humor Styles of People With Dementia Linked to Greater Purpose in Life?”

Having a sense of humor in dementia may be associated with a stronger sense of purpose in life, but it depends on the type of humor used. Results are discussed in the context of understanding the role of humor in the daily lives of people with dementia and implications for care.

The goal of this study was to continue this trend by examining purpose in life and its relationship to humor styles in people with mild-to-moderate dementia.

People with dementia often report that having a good sense of humor is beneficial when living with progressive cognitive impairment. Using humor as a way to cope with memory loss or defuse an awkward situation can help buffer the negative effects of cognitive decline on daily life (Langdon, Eagle, & Warner, 2007). Beard and Fox (2008) found that people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease use humor to normalize life and minimize the impact of the disease. MacRae (2010) found that in addition to stress reduction, humor shifted the focus of people with dementia to things beyond their own deficits.

There is a preference for slapstick comedy (no surprise). And humor may facilitate the positive reframing of life perspectives for people with dementia. 

  • Adaptive humor styles include: affiliative humor, which promotes positive social relationships, and self-enhancing humor, which promotes the self at no cost to others. 

  • Maladaptive humor styles include: aggressive humor, which jeopardizes social relationships by ridiculing others, and self-defeating humor, which is self-deprecating.  

Adaptive humor was associated with positive outcomes (e.g., less anxiety and depression; greater optimism, self-esteem, and psychological well-being) whereas maladaptive humor showed the opposite association. Based on these trends, we hypothesize that greater levels of adaptive humor will be positively associated with purpose in life, whereas greater levels of maladaptive humor will be negatively associated with purpose in life.

Yes, this has been “seriously studied”.  

And just for the fun of it here are some

RELEVANT YouTube videos.


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