Essay on `` Aging Our Way ``

Essay on `` Aging Our Way ``

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Humor can take many forms, including practical jokes, teasing, insults and self-deprecation. It is a staple of humanity and plays an extremely important role in our psychology as we move throughout life’s stages. In fact, famed philosopher Immanuel Kant placed laughter alongside sleeping and hope as the most beneficial means of renewing the soul. It is commonly perceived as a beneficiary tool for healing and social interaction for everyone, but few have looked at the roles humor plays in the aging process. Meika Loe set out to examine this relationship in her book, Aging Our Way by utilizing several case studies of the elderly of various backgrounds. Loe has identified key case studies to support this hypothesis in Eddie, who uses humor to connect with others and the community; Bill, who uses humor to give him a purpose in the community and to mask his hearing deficiencies; Glenn, who uses practical jokes in order to light-heartedly address stereotypes associated with aging; Ann, who tells funny personal stories to “expose the unexpected” and herself in the process; Alice, who uses humor to keep conversations light and make new friendships and finally, Lore, whose dry and unapologetic humor allow her to take advantage of common ageist thought that she simply can’t help herself and combat ageism as a whole in the process. It is clear that humor is extremely beneficial to smoothen the aging process by enhancing social ties and a sense of identity, coping with vulnerabilities and anxieties associated with the aging process and combating and highlighting ageism, which is prejudice based on a person’s age.
One of the ways humor can smoothen the aging process is by maintaining their social participation and ensuring they have an iden...


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...lluminate and combat ageism in society. Clearly these cases show that humor is an extremely versatile device in addressing a number of issues that come with aging, and is advantageous in smoothening the aging process as a whole. Upon studying the various cases Loe wrote about, I realized the role of humor in the lives of my aging relatives. My grandmother frequently tells stories similar to Ann’s in order to address and cope with subjection to mental and physical lapses as she ages and my grandfather frequently makes jokes like Eddie’s that poke fun at the issues that come with old age. Connecting these cases with my personal life leads me to believe that perhaps the role of humor in aging is understudied and underutilized in geriatrics. Perhaps it could prove to be a key cog in a formula for successful aging and I’m eager to see how it is addressed in the future.

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