5274 Scotts Valley Dr #102 Scotts Valley, CA 95066 831-430-0616 www.VisitingAngels.com/SantaCruz 229 Reindollar Ave., Suite E Marina, CA 93933 831-392-0876 www.VisitingAngels.com/Monterey
The Best Medicine Finding Value in a Good Laugh
“We don’t stop laughing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop laughing.” Several years ago, I met with a couple who wanted to hire Visiting Angels to help them at home. At the ages of 92 and 94, they had spent many years together and experienced so much. There were countless birthdays and weddings — and also surgeries and funerals. Some of their children didn’t survive to adulthood, while others would one day bring them grandchildren and even great-grandchildren! After 72 years of marriage, it’s easy to imagine two people would be sick of each other. Instead, they sat across from me, acting like a new couple in their early 20s. When I asked what their secret was, they just looked at each other with so much love in their eyes. “We laugh together every day,” they said in unison. Laughter kept them close and young. Find a new reason to laugh with the person you’re with, and you’ll fall in love with them all over again. It sounded like something from a sappy romance movie, but when you meet a couple like them, this is advice you take to heart — especially when you remember laughter is an incredibly important part of the human experience. It’s a universal language; every culture shares the value of laughter. The healing power of good humor has been recognized in the medical community for hundreds of years. In the 14th century, a French surgeon named Henri de Mondeville suggested doctors should have someone tell their patients jokes! Today, laughter is often used to help treat pain associated with cancer, arthritis, and other illnesses. Recent studies have been able to determine why laughter is so good for us.
A good laugh can increase endorphins, boost the
immune system, improve dopamine levels, combat depression and anxiety, and even help
exercise the diaphragm and abdominal muscles. In fact, since laughter helps reduce stress hormones, which then decreases blood pressure, the American Heart Association reports laughter is good for our hearts! An exercise called laughter
“It’s a universal language; every culture shares the value of laughter.”
yoga has also become popular among older adults. This activity blends the stretching and physical fitness of yoga with the health benefits of laughter in an environment where participants can bond with other members of their community.
It is possible to laugh when you’re alone, but laughter often comes easier when you can share it with a companion. Something I love about our Visiting Angels is they do a lot more than help with activities of daily living. For many, our caregivers provide valuable companionship, as well as someone to laugh with. Laughter truly brings people together, and our Angels are always happy to share stories, watch a funny movie, or drive their client to laughter yoga!
Please remember to laugh today, because laughter really can be the best medicine.
Cindy Saunders, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
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