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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.

Did you know that laughter has an effect similar to antidepressants? 

Laughing activates the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, the same brain chemical affected by the most common types of antidepressants, SSRIs. It’s not clear from the research how long this effect sticks around, but the burst of brain activity laughing triggers is undoubtedly potent, at least for short periods of time.

There are other benefits as well including fostering brain connectivity and forming social bonds.

That might be why Mary Maxwell’s popular convention invocation has made the trek around the viral world. Maxwell, a friend of Home Instead co-founders Paul and Lori Hogan, was asked to give the invocation at one of the company's conventions. 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 attendees 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.

Brought to you by Home Instead

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. January 4, 2016 at 9:15 pm | Posted by Sonny Ona

    Amazing prayer from a Senior like Mary Maxwell. Seniors are treasuries of wisdom. We must listen well to them.


  2. October 26, 2014 at 5:35 pm | Posted by Marilyn Marquez

    Blessed are we who are privileged to have and can still enjoy the love of our elders...


  3. July 3, 2014 at 8:46 am | Posted by Tina

    Mary, Your words confirmed my wish to be employed by Mr. and Mrs Byrne Home Instead! Manchester, N.H.


  4. June 11, 2014 at 8:33 am | Posted by smithlopan8

    Firstly thanks a lot for such a wonderful post. I would like to know more about such topics and hope to get some more helpful information from your blog. C U soon.


  5. May 15, 2014 at 7:09 am | Posted by buydrug

    Hi, This one is great and is really a good post. I think it will help me a lot in the related stuff and is very much useful for me. Very well written I appreciate & must say good job. medicine home delivery


  6. April 5, 2014 at 11:43 pm | Posted by Jo



  7. March 22, 2014 at 3:35 am | Posted by Gail

    what a lady, so funny. Thank you Mary , your'e a legend. I work in aged care in Australia. It is an honour and privilege to spend my days with so many wonderful seniors. Love my Job. Gail


  8. December 21, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Posted by Patricia Glas

    I was laughing out loud. Mary Maxwell is wonderful!


  9. December 10, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Posted by vickiebrowm

    Mary Maxwell just made my day


  10. December 10, 2013 at 1:10 pm | Posted by vickiebrowm

    She made me feel wonderful i love her


  11. August 31, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Posted by frances Joiner

    Loved the monologue (sp?) and can certainly relate, since I am 83 yrs old !!


  12. August 31, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Posted by frances Joiner

    Thanks for the sweet lady - Mary Maxwell ! I can certainly relate! And I thoroughly enjoyed her monologue !! Fran


  13. July 22, 2013 at 8:23 am | Posted by John



  14. May 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Posted by Eva Hollander

    Find this very interesting.


  15. April 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm | Posted by Arnedia Whitfield

    I served my country with the U.S Navy for 20 years. I'm officially retired with honors and I would love to be able to provide in home care for the elderly. I believe in paying it forward and helping those less fortunate. I have done volunteer work with the homeless shelter here in the PWC of Virginia. I have a degree and I'm a certified chef that would love to prepare healthy choice meals for the elderly. Thanks for listening...


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