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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. September 14, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Posted by Brian F

    I am also 72 and know exactly what she means, but being able to laugh about it makes it so much easier to cope.


  2. September 13, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted by Audrey Dias

    I would love to get her speech


  3. September 10, 2011 at 1:50 am | Posted by Jerry

    She might of had some good High School and College speech training because she read her well written notes very well and got my immediate attention.


  4. September 8, 2011 at 7:39 pm | Posted by Becky B

    Bless Mary and her humor!


    • February 25, 2012 at 11:48 am | Posted by Huber

      Mary January 18, 2011 Wow, love the prciute wish the frogs next to the BART train tracks would come to my yard love your prciutes I too have a farm here in Richmond, for the past few summers I've grown fresh vegetables and fruit to enjoy can't wait to share your blog with others to encourage them to grow vegetables and raise their own farm animals.Mary


  5. September 3, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Posted by Jullia

    I, too, would like a copy of her speech. It is wonderful.


  6. September 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Posted by MaryAnne

    Hilarious!! I've already seen a couple of Mary's speeches on my computer and enjoyed it immensely! I work with senior adults at my church and I would LOVE to have a copy of it possible to get one by email? Thanks for sharing her with everyone!!


  7. August 31, 2011 at 10:55 am | Posted by Claudine Trangsrud

    Is it possible to get a printed hard copy of her speech. It is priceless and her timing is unbelievable as is her wit.


  8. August 17, 2011 at 10:21 am | Posted by Babe

    Enjoyed this video. I too enjoy fun and laughter. I am 74 and just finally retired last year as a cafeteria worker. Enjoyed the fun and laughter and excercise it brought me every day. Now I'm living closer to my extended beautiful family and enjoying my 5 beautiful kids, 8 grand kids, 2 great grand kids and life is still beautiful even though my face is sagging and everything else Have a GREAT day!


  9. August 15, 2011 at 11:02 am | Posted by Fern Jones

    I love this lady, she reminds she reminds me of myself a little. I wrote a poem about old age. She is so funny.


  10. August 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Posted by Dan

    Very very funny..and a very cool lady! I'd love to meet her!!


  11. August 1, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Posted by janross

    Oh how I wish there were more who would LOOK at my father, SMILE at him as he creeps by them, ACCEPT his infirmities as he does, RESPECT him for he is truly an amazing man, and ENGAGE him for his wisdom boundless and his spirit is youthful. This gave me a huge chuckle....I'm a senior, too. Jan


  12. July 31, 2011 at 8:33 am | Posted by Fred Dufrene

    I'm 72 and I laughed out loud. No better way to start the day than with a good laugh, regardless of your living circumstance. Mary must have been quite a card in her day.


  13. July 23, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Posted by Ms. Toby Sterinbach

    Yes, it was very funny -- and I did laugh out loud --but I reside in a large senior residence with both independent living and assisted living and when people get to the stage Mary pretends to have been in when she does the reading, and we live with it, then it becomes rather sad and you have to allow for some sadness too.


  14. July 23, 2011 at 9:33 am | Posted by Betty Frey

    It's a good thing to be spending our remaining years with others who are waiting every day for the end but waiting lovingly with others. We do share each others joys and sorrows and it makes it easier to survive. Love this retirement home living.


  15. July 21, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Posted by Tom Ramsay

    A day without laughter is like a garden without flowers~thanks Mary for the bouquet of your humor~Tom


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