The Lighter Side of Aging

Lots of laughs! – for the health of it!

They say laughter is the best medicine. Of course it’s not, otherwise our doctors would charge us for it, our insurance companies would deny coverage, and someone would make a fortune selling it in a cream on late-night TV.

But it turns out that researchers have evidence, and lots of it, that laughter IS good for us. A good laugh improves our heart rate, lowers blood pressure, improves circulation, and boosts immunity. Furthermore, it lowers cortisol, the stress hormone implicated in more and more conditions and diseases.

So laugh a little, or laugh a lot, but laugh for the health of it. Join our mailing list to receive updates of future podcasts on positive aging strategies, including integrating a lighthearted perspective.

Ten Commandments for Lighthearted Living…okay, Eleven

  1. Make up your mind that no matter what happens you’re going to be a happy person. If you’re not having fun, FAKE IT!
  2. Start the day with a smile by reading something funny. Skip the stress of listening to the news.
  3. If you meet someone who hasn’t got a smile, give him or her yours.
  4. Keep a clip file of cartoons and jokes handy for emergency infusions of humor.
  5. Laugh at your troubles. Crying is no fun and complaining does no good.
  6. Laugh at your dumb mistakes before others have a chance to.
  7. Laugh with your spouse and your marriage will improve with age.
  8. Laugh with your kids and they’ll never stop loving you.
  9. Don’t laugh with your relatives – it will encourage them to borrow money.
  10. Keep smiling! It makes people wonder what you’ve been up to.
  11. Remember: Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.

Wilde, Larry. (2002). When You’re Up To Your Eyeballs in Alligators. Jester Press. ©2002 Copyrighted material. Used with permission of the author.

I Love to Laugh…ha ha ha ha… Loud and Long and Clear!

The Disney classic, Mary Poppins, features an older man telling silly jokes and one-liners until he laughs so hard he floats up to the ceiling. And it appeared that silliness was contagious! We know that humor helps us psychologically, but caregivers and family members can also get the health benefits of laughter, making our challenges more manageable. Though senses of humor may be different, we decided to risk it and share the favorite jokes of our residents and clients.

(From Ed B)
Ed: If the President dies, who gets the job?
Nurse: The Vice President?
Ed: No, the undertaker!

(From Mary, an experienced Nurse)
Hospital regulations require a wheel chair for patients being discharged. However, while working as a student nurse, I found one elderly gentleman already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suit case at his feet, who insisted he d idn’t need my help to leave the hospital.After a chat about rules being rules, he reluctantly let me wheel him to the elevator. On the way down I asked him if his wife was meeting him.
‘I don’t know,’ he said. ‘She’s still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.’

(From Betty G)
An elderly gentleman had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100% . The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, ‘Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.’
The gentleman replied, ‘Oh, I haven’t told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I’ve changed my will three times!’

Laughter Clubs

The World Laughter Tour is a great organization which promotes world peace through laughter. They offer trainings for those interested in becoming Certified Laughter Leaders. Several staff at Hebrew Health Care have gone through the training – contact us and we’ll share how we know our residents, clients & patients LOVE LAUGHTER. Laughter clubs utilize therapeutic laughter exercises and we know that whether you “fake it until you make it” or “simulate to stimulate laughter” therapeutic laughter exercises usually turn into true mirthful laughter, with all the health benefits. For more info on becoming a CLL or therapeutic laughter contact Steve Wilson at www.worldlaughtertour.com.