Beaverton Senior Life: Laughter is the Best Medicine

By Rhonda Kay Leonard09 smile-1591798_640

In my work at UHS, we aid and assist people at all stages of life, sometimes at the end of life. Times like that can feel serious and heavy; and surprisingly, they can be light and humorous.  I shared a funny moment recently with a client whose battle with cancer has taken a turn for the worse.  She has lived a wonderful life, full of achievement and joy. She felt ready to move on.  I’m learning this feeling is common among people who have lived a well-lived life.

We sat on her bed together, talking about things that promote a sense of wellbeing. I assisted her to a sitting position, with her back supported by pillows. We opened the curtains and observed the clear crisp weather on the evergreen trees in her back yard.  She sipped on tea made with a level spoon of sugar and a spot of milk, just the way she liked it. And then it happened; while talking about nothing of consequence laughter broke out. We laughed together over how the word “long” changed its meaning in recent days.  I didn’t expect laughter, but laughter came, and the light in her eyes shone brightly.

Douglas Smith, in his book: Caregiving, Hospice-Proven Techniques for Healing Body and Soul, states laughter as one of the basic rights of a hospice patient.  He writes, “People often come to me wearing masks of seriousness. Although dying, I still need to laugh.  Please laugh with me and help others to laugh as well.”

I’m learning the value of laughter to the human spirit. It’s therapeutic to caregiver care recipient alike.  It connects hearts and lightens loads. I’m learning the old adage “laughter is the best medicine” is true!

This story is sponsored by United Homecare Services. If you are interested in finding out more or scheduling a no-obligation consultation, call 503-433-8079.