The Lighten Up! Delaware Seniors initiative is a yearlong effort by Dr. Paul McGhee, President of The Laughter Remedy in Wilmington, Delaware. Its goal is to support the use of humor as a tool for promoting Positive Aging in Delaware, beginning in New Castle County. The initiative is taking two different approaches to helping seniors first improve their sense of humor and then learn to use humor to cope (that’s the main goal) with the challenges that often go with aging.
1) Presentations on Humor and Positive Aging to Senior Living Communities and Senior Centers
Paul will present a series of talks to seniors living in Senior Living Communities (focusing on independent living residents) and (day-visit) Senior Centers in New Castle County. These presentations—entitled Humor, Health and Happiness in the Retirement Years: So What’s do Funny about Aging?—are entertaining and fun, but also show seniors how your sense of humor contributes to physical health and gives you the emotional resilience you need to cope with the stress that often goes with aging. Those attending will also be offered guidelines for using Dr. McGhee’s 7 Humor Habits Training Program (whose effectiveness has been documented in 5 countries) to work on improving their sense of humor in the two months following his talk. This training has consistently been shown to improve one’s sense of humor, boost positive mood and reduce depression (a major concern with seniors), anxiety, and negative emotion in general. (AND IT WORKS WITH SENIORS—IT’S NOT TOO LATE!) The program has a strong impact in boosting life satisfaction and boosting the quality of one’s life—even if it doesn’t make you live longer.
Seniors who want to work on improving their sense of humor without “systematically” going through the Humor Training as part of a group, will be encouraged to go through the 7 Humor Habits Program on their own using the “Senior Humor Training Exercises” already available at Dr. McGhee’s website, www.LaughterRemedy.com. Click on the January 23, 2012 article to get started and then spend a week doing the humor-building exercises suggested for each Humor Habit in the February-May, 2012 articles.
2) Humor Trainings in churches, using Paul’s 7 Humor Habits Training Program
Churches will be encouraged to create their own small groups (20-25 people) and meet regularly in churches to go through the 7 Humor Habits Program in a systematic way. One church has currently committed to organizing this Humor Training in the fall. If any other churches in the Wilmington Delaware area are interested in organizing this kind of two-month weekly Humor Training in their church, just contact Dr. McGhee about how to get that started.
The ultimate goal of these efforts is to support Positive Aging and boost the quality of life of Delaware Seniors. A future article at this website will report on the outcome of a large scale test of the 7 Humor Habits Program at Senior Living Communities in Michigan. This study will be completed in the summer of 2013.
NOTE: See other articles at this website if you are interested in learning more about the exciting new research documenting physical health benefits associated with humor and laughter–including a positive impact on specific disease conditions.