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Laughter is Good for the Soul
Recently I was working with a client when her family came for a visit.  As the client’s granddaughter entered the house, she rushed over to her grandmother with a smile of anticipation. “Grandma, grandma. I have a joke for you,” she said. 
 
“Knock knock”
“Who's there?”
“Senior”
“Senior who?”
“Senior so nosy, I’m not going to tell you!”
 
The grandmother and her granddaughter had a good chuckle followed by a hug.  That experience got me thinking about the importance of laughter in the lives of seniors. 
 
Laughter gives us temporary relief from the stresses of life.  Laughter can bring a smile back to the face of a senior who recently lost their spouse.  Laughter can be a welcome distraction for seniors facing medical challenges.  Laughter can help seniors connect with their families, just like our client and her granddaughter. 
 
A recent Mayo Clinic article that I read discussed the short-term health benefits of laughter.  The article stated, “Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.”  This leads to the feelings of happiness and fulfillment in our lives.
 
In addition to the physical benefits of laughter, seniors also experience emotional benefits including reduced tension, a cooperative attitude, and a more positive outlook.  A good laugh is great way to start a conversation because it instantly creates a connection between the participants. 
 
The next time you call or visit your older loved ones, try telling them a simple joke or two.  Watch how their face lights up and their mood instantly improves.  A simple knock-knock joke will do, but if you are more daring, there are many great websites with clean jokes.
 
“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old.  You grow old because you stop laughing” – Anonymous
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