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Heritage Care benefits from laughter care program

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Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis
Pam Kiriakidis has worked as a journalist at the North Central Review since 2022, with a particular focus on the City of Whittlesea and stories for the Whittlesea Review. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Communications majoring in journalism and focuses on politics, community, and health with the occasional niche sports story finding its way in front of her.

Residents at Heritage Care in Epping have made use of Humour Foundation’s Laughter Care program since the aged care launched the initiative in December last year. 

The aged care has a unique partnership with the Humour Foundation who has for the last 20 years provided humour to sick children in hospitals with trained performers, but now through the Laughter Care program improves the quality of life for residents with laughter care specialists. 

Each week Laughter care specialist Lauren – or ‘Penny’ as known to residents at Epping – bonds with 14 residents currently part of the program which includes two residents from the aged care’s recent state-of-the-art Memory Support Unit that is tailored to supporting residents with dementia. 

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Head of group operations Kathy Warren said the program had a positive response from residents.

“It’s been amazing the residents have reacted to it in a very positive way and so has the staff,” she said. 

Besides singing songs and dancing, part of Laura’s program is called binary travel where she gives the residents options as to where they enjoy travelling and is guided by their responses.

Ms Warren said this part of the program helped residents to use their imagination, especially residents living with dementia. 

“It helps them connect through storytelling and imagination by building a story together and that brings back beautiful memories for them … and then they can share them together in a positive way,” she said. 

Staff and families have also benefited from the program, making the most of the positive interactions.

Ms Warren said Heritage Care would continue the program and hopefully roll it out to other homes later in the year. 

Heritage Northcote is a co-sponsor of the Northcote Rise Festival and will have a representation at the festival this Sunday on High Street, Northcote, for any aged care inquiries.

The festival features a host of entertainment events on four stages. The main stage features 10 acts commenting at 11am, while local schools and folk groups entertain on the community stage – also from 11am.

The social club stage and family stage are also packed with entertainment through to 7pm when the event wraps up.

Ms Warren said that Heritage Care was pleased to be part of Northcote Rise Festival adding that Heritage staff were looking forward to meeting visitors to their stall.

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