How laughter can be the best medicine in aged care

Our mission as a residential aged care provider is to be the best at everything we do for the benefit of the community. Forging strong partnerships helps achieve this.

Our unique partnership with The Humour Foundation is a great example of the work we’re doing to provide residents with rich wellbeing environments, lifting sprits and improving health through insightful connection, creative play, and joyful humour.

Connecting with residents through humour, empathy, and stories

A mix of residents at Heritage Epping will be involved in a world-first Laughter Care program, developed to address their individual psychosocial needs, to engage, uplift and improve their quality of life.

Laughter Care Specialists help residents maintain positive interactions during a time in their life often characterised by immense loss for them and their families. Laughter Care empowers residents by honouring and celebrating their capabilities through music, dance, props, stories, improvisation and reminiscence. This results in increased wellbeing, quality of life, and enhanced interactions with their families and staff.

Lauren, our dedicated Laughter Care Specialist, accepts people for who they are, here and now. She is uniquely skilled at stepping into the resident’s world, helping them interact on their own terms. We look forward to seeing Lauren work her magic in creating positive resident outcomes.

An industry-standard program delivering transformative results

The Laughter Care program addresses several of the requirements of the ACQSC Quality Standards – most importantly Standard 1: Consumer Dignity and Choice. This Standard, the foundation on which all the Standards are based, highlights the importance of enabling a resident to act independently, make their own choices, and take part in their community which in turn fosters social inclusion, health and wellbeing.

The program is evidenced by international research (the SMILE Study[1]), which showed that agitation levels of dementia residents decreased through humour therapy to the same extent as using anti-psychotic drugs – but without the side effects. More than 400 people and 36 residential aged care facilities were involved in the Study.[2]

Other positive outcomes included increased happiness and positive behaviours, greater staff job satisfaction, and increased interest in the residents as unique individuals.

There were also perceived effects on staff not directly involved in the Study – including positive change in attitude and approach to care delivery, reduced stress levels, and improved communication, teamwork, relationships, and empathy among staff.

Heritage Epping – state-of-the-art dementia care

Heritage Epping is a leading residential aged care home with a memory support unit catering for people requiring high dementia care – including humour therapy through Laughter Care

Residence General Manager, Julio Castillo, brings strong leadership and clinical governance to the home, ensuring we provide a consistently high level of care to our residents.

“Almost all our aged care residents believe a sense of humour is very important at end of life,” Julio says. “The Laughter Care program is proven in helping residents connect through humour, stories, and play.

“It’s really important that our residents have someone who listens and helps maintain their dignity.”

New Residence Manager Julio Castillo Strengthens Leadership at Heritage Epping Aged Care Home

Learn more about Julio Castillo

Heritage Epping Aged Care lounge room overlooking wetlands

Learn more about Heritage Epping


[1] Source: BMJ Open, ‘The Sydney Multisite Intervention of Laughter Bosses and ElderClowns (SMILE) study: cluster randomized trial of humour therapy in nursing homes

[2] Source: The Humour Foundation