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A Reminder That Laughter is the Best Medicine


Watch as this very funny lady reminds us that laughter is the best medicine.

A friend of the couple who founded Home Instead Senior Care, Mary Maxwell was asked to give the invocation at the company's 2009 Convention. Initially it seemed like a normal prayer, but it soon took a very funny turn. Her deadpan delivery and lines like ...This is the first time I've ever been old... and it just sort of crept up on me ... soon had the franchise owners rolling in the aisles. With the timing of a professional comedian, Mary shines a very funny light on the foibles of aging, to the delight of this audience of senior-care experts.

Download a copy of the poem, Blessed In Aging (PDF 275KB), which Mary reads at the end of her prayer.

Download a transcript of this Mary Maxwell video (PDF)

A Reminder That Laughter is the Best Medicine

Mary Maxwell, Posted July 26, 2010

Lori Hogan:
Before dinner is served I would like to invite our dear friend Mary Maxwell to the podium. We are so happy that she can be here tonight, and we are honored to have her deliver tonight's invocation. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Mary Maxwell.

(clapping and hug on stage)

Mary Maxwell:
Ladies and Gentlemen, as a new client of Home Instead and friend and former neighbor of Lori and Paul Hogan. I am so honored to have been chosen to invocation this evening. So let us pray.

God, our father, you know all that Home Instead believes in and strives for. And we ask your blessing on the Home Instead family, the management, the staff, the caregivers, and the clients. We are grateful for the way everyone here tonight contributes to the success of the mission of Home Instead. And we ask you to continue to bless them and this food which we are able to recieve. Amen.

Un oh sorry God, as long as I have the microphone (clapping and laughter).

There are a few things I forgot to mention. First of all, just to introduce myself, a little. Over the years I have noticed the two things that most people want to know about you, are things that they are far to polite to ask. So lets get that out of the way. I'm 72 years old and I weigh a hundred and forty five pounds. As you know we seniors are sometimes not very likable, let alone lovable. So Lord could you please continue to keep the people at Home Instead patient and aware of why we are the way we are.

And Lord please remind them that the thing about old age is that you do not get a chance to practice. This is the first time I have ever been old, and it just sort of creeped up on me. There were signs, random hair growth, that's special. Partially that first time you go to brush that hair off your lapel and discover it is attached to your chin. You turn your left turn signal on in the morning and leave it on all day. Non-life threatening skin growths large enough to name after diseased pets and related begin to appear. And neck tissue seems to develop a life of it's own. Last November, I was afraid to leave the house Thanksgiving week. (pause) Aren't you quick.

You do strange things as you age, like driving up to a curb side mailbox and ordering a cheeseburger and fries. And Lord, I know you are aware that one Sunday at church I put my Dillard's bill in the collection basket by mistake. And last Easter, after services at St. Silica's Cathedral here on Omaha, my husband stopped to talk to a friend and I went out and got into the car to go home. The gentlemen sitting behind the wheel said, "Oh are you going home with me?" And I said, "Oh Archbishop, I am
so sorry."

I won't even mention driving into the wrong end of the car wash. People get so excited when you do that. I don't know why the lady in the other car was screaming like that. I was just as surprised to see her as she was to see me. I also won't mention discovering that you are wearing miss matched earrings, and going home to change them and ending up wearing the other mismatched pair. And you know Lord that it is hard for old people to exercise. I did try to jog once, but it makes the wine just jump right out of your glass.
Well Lord, you understand seniors and their care and so does Home Instead and I have used before a poem that I found in a local retirement home newsletter that I have always thought spoke volumes about Home Instead.

(Adapted from the poem, Blessed In Aging by Esther Mary Walker)

Blessed are they who understand,
My faltering step and shaking hand
Blessed, are they who know my ears today,

Must strain to hear the things they say.
Blessed are they who seem to know,
My eyes are dim and my wits are slow
Blessed are they who look away,
When I spilled coffee at table day.

Blessed are they, with cheery smile,
Who take the time to chat for a little while

Blessed are they who know the ways,
To bring back memories of yesterdays.
Blessed are they that make it known
That I am loved, respected and not alone.
Just like you, to Us it is Personal.

That's Home Instead Lord, bless them all and at the end of the evening please help me find my car in the parking lot. Amen.

Watch the video,

Visit to discover more wit and wisdom from Mary Maxwell,
as well as expert advice from Dr. Amy D'Aprix and other videos, articles, and
resources for family caregivers.

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. March 1, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Posted by jay zegowitz

    I was going to comment but I lost the train of thought on the way to the keypad. It was great!


  2. February 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Posted by Gail Daker

    I love this. I got a realy good laught So true..


  3. February 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Posted by Nicole

    Thanks Mrs. Maxwell - Reality of Life while ageing - so true . The prayer is wonderful. One day at a time is the best way to live life fully for me .Nicole


  4. February 16, 2012 at 10:08 am | Posted by matilda smith

    A wonderful way to share humerous thoughts and comments about another phase of our lives which "olders" are blessed to experience. Forget yesterday and "our things" and enjoy people of our age. Mary, thank you for "Sharing is Carlng."


    • February 23, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Posted by Rebecca Wood

      Mary's story was delightful, funny and describes the way some of us are now as age is creeping up on us. Mary's prayer was very entertaining.


  5. February 12, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Posted by Joan Beaulieu

    I loved this poem and the prayer presentation! I am getting up there (almost 68) so am quite familiar with our ageing nuances. Forgetting words is very hard for me - my husband usually fills in when I forget and I do the same for him. my memory hasn't "returned" to me yet. still can't remember a damn thing! walk into a room and forget what I was there for! put things away and can't remember where. (in a SAFE place?) so many changes but having a sense of humor about it all makes life worth living! thank you Mary!


  6. February 9, 2012 at 4:41 am | Posted by richard molnar

    Thank you for today"s laugh. It was hilarious !


  7. February 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Posted by Charles Lee Carter

    The fact that we recall something that we couldn't previously proves that we do not lose memory, we misplace it in a vast filing system and our subconscious is running a search program in the back round. Information is recalled, but after it is no longer relevant.


  8. February 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Posted by Charles Lee Carter

    Why is it that when you go to bed you remember words, names and things to do you forgot during the previous day and the next day you remember that you remembered but forgot what you had remembered. Then there was that great invention idea you had the previous night. The next day, you remember you had a revolutionary idea but have no residual clue what it was. -------until the next night. deja vu what I'm talking about?


  9. January 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Posted by Laurie O'Connell

    One of the secrets of ageing happily is to keep or develop a sense of humor, especially about oneself. Cheers to Mary!


  10. January 9, 2012 at 1:15 am | Posted by luba arko

    What is this nonsense about forgetting things as we age? Everything is imprinted on our memory tape in our brain but the truth is that we don't want to remember some things...and yet we now and then are faced with those memories we want to forget! Not that they are necessarily hurtful memories, just that they are no longer necessary nor useful to us....for instance,....why do we remember some wedding and that auntie Edna wore a red dress??? Of course that is useless information now.What a pity that we cannot have a delete button just as we have on the computer....we can bring up a memory of some occasion or event, bad or good, and if we choose, we can just push some button (or pull on our left ear for example) and that memory will be gone forever....I don't think that as we age we become forgetfull...NO NO No!!!! It is just that we have information OVERLOAD... So it would just be wonderful to delete the things we no longer want to remember so that we can make space in our brain computer for new information,,,and eliminate overload...The other day I was trying to remember the word that we use when we have opposites within a two word structure, like for instanceJumbo ShrimpHonest Lawyeretc....and I was up all night trying to remember that the word I was searching forAt around 6 a.m. I finally found wasOXYMORONI kept finding tens of other words that I seldom use, but it took me half the night to find the word oxymoron amongst all the vocabulary that I possess...see what I mean? And I could not call anyone at 4 a.m. and ask for help...


  11. December 20, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Posted by Meridith Allison

    I refuse to age past 39 years old--that's my story and I'm sticking to it! I will not be joining the geriatric generation no matter what the calendar says. It's not the years of my life, it's the life in my years, thank you very much.


  12. December 7, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Posted by Sally Stoner Kreis

    Mary,~~or should I say Mrs. Maxwell???, I had a teacher? Principal?? by the name of Mrs. Maxwell. If I'm mistaken, please forgive me. There are days I don't remember who I am~~why should I expect to remember details from the 1950's????? There seems to be alot of attention being focused on aging~~that's,I'm sure, because the people in government have a vested interest in the process, they are the same ones experiencing the phenomenon called being "challenging old" (I do hope that's the politically correct phrase) Politicians claim faulty memory when they are caught with their hands in the "cookie jar". I'm quite fond of the descriptive phrase I seem to be using of late~~"I don't have Alzheimers, I just have "some-timers" disease." My grandchildren have proudly provided another "descriptive phrase" ,'Just tell 'em you are "de-fragging". Another term just as endearing: I'm in the process of "deleting archival material" from my brain. !!! There are probably even more titles for joining the geriatric generation. Sadly, I've forgotten them. If, I've misspelled any words or used improper punctuation, please do not blame the wonderful education I received while attending St. Cecelia Grade School & Cathedral High School. Just add it to the list---forgetful. Sally Stoner Kreis


  13. November 26, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Posted by Robin Roach

    I just revisited this site and have enjoyed it as much this time as the first time I saw it.Thank you so much for the added shorts!Sincerely, Robin Roach


  14. October 31, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Posted by Senior Comedian Headlines New Home Instead Senior Care Network Website | homeinsteadsd

    [...] started as a simple prayer evolved into a comedic performance that brought down the house. Business owners were rolling in the [...]


  15. October 31, 2011 at 10:21 am | Posted by tracy semeniuk

    Mary's prayer is a valuable learning tool. It should be used in seminars for health providers,old and new to the field to remind them it is personal. Be present for these people who are trusting you with their well being. Human dignity,empathy and perspective,don't we all deserve that from each other.


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