What do you expect to see when you walk in the front door of a retirement community? Lovely surroundings, silver-haired people in comfortable chairs engaged in conversation or reading? Maybe there is some soft music from the Big Band era playing in the background. This is true very often, but not at St. Mary’s Woods on Tuesday afternoons. Even before you open the front door, you will hear a loud sound that makes you smile. Those comfortable chairs are occupied by us, average age 84, laughing long and loud like we did when we were kids many decades ago. As Estelle leads us through the laughter games and exercises, we let go of the aches and pains and sadness that can accompany aging. We are playful again because of Estelle’s encouragement. Our breathing deepens and the knees don’t seem to ache as much. Some of us make up silly names for the laughter yoga introductions; we’ve even invented some laughter games on our own (chicken wings!). Some of us (no names mentioned, Bud) have a reputation for being grouchy, but not on Tuesday afternoons. We love to watch the surprised looks on the faces of visitors when they see and hear us carrying on. Staff members will even stop and laugh with us. No one who passes us during Laughter Yoga is able to keep from laughing themselves. Take it from us: you are NEVER too old to play.
Barbara, Betty, Carol, Margaret, Mickey, Nan and Bud