I do laughter yoga 2 times a month at an Assisted Living facility with Altzheimers residents. Last week I noticed a new gentleman there who is obviously a new resident. A very nice, distinguished looking man. He walks around and wanders alot but is very friendly. Before my session, he asked me what I was doing. I tried to explain to him that we were going to laugh and do laughter yoga. He did not comprehend. I noticed he had an accent so I tried to ask him where he was from. He did not seem to be able to answer but the staff told me he was originally from Argentina.
Now I am a nurse and understand quite abit about Altzheimers disease. The short term memory is what fades rapidly but oftentimes the long term memory is still there. So if someone is from another country, oftentimes the native language will surface and be easier to make a connection.
I looked at this confused gentleman, who did not understand what I was saying about laughter yoga. I then smiled and said, "Yoga de la Risa!" and laughed. His eyes widened and he smiled and said "yoga de la Risa?" I said, "yes!" We made the connection! He got up and wandered in and out of the room during the laughter yoga. That is ok. I understand the restlessness can be part of the illness. However, as he would walk in the room, I would look at this man and smile and laugh - and he began to smile and laugh back. It was a lovely moment.
I realized all the different skills I have learned from being involved with the laughter yoga community. My Spanish is very poor. Through all the laughter yoga in the Latino countries, I know laughter yoga in Spanish. And yoga de la Risa was the connecting word!!! Ja,ja. ja!!