Stand up for dementia: Performance, improvisation and stand up comedy as therapy for people with dementia; a qualitative study

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The aim of this qualitative study was to describe and investigate the effects of a programme of stand up comedy and improvisation workshops on people with early stage dementia. Interviews from participants (n = 6), their carers (n = 6), and the comedian facilitator were analysed using constant comparative analysis. The findings indicated that dementia did not prevent participants from laughing appropriately or successfully creating and performing comedy. The data suggest that the programme may have therapeutic benefits as improvements in memory, learning, sociability, communication and self esteem were demonstrated. The study also develops a set of hypotheses for further research which includes: that active participation by people with dementia (PWD) in performing to create laughter is more beneficial therapeutically than passively induced laughter.

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