The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

March 22, 2013

Easter celebration has seniors laughing


TARBORO — ‘Laughter is the best medicine.”

That saying rang true at Thursday morning’s Easter celebration for seniors in the auditorium of the Edgecombe Country Administrative Building.

“I love to laugh. It made me feel good. It gives you energy,” said Lorelle Edwards of Tarboro. She participated in the “laughter yoga” exercise led by Gloria Sain, recreational services director at GoldenLiving Center.

“How long has it been since you actually enjoyed childlike playfulness?” Sain asked the seniors. That “childlike playfulness” on Thursday morning manifested itself in the seniors’ clapping their hands, exclaiming “Yay!” and raising their hands in the air, and practicing an “Alo-ha-ha-ha!” belly laugh.

Rev. Thomas Jones of St. James Temple Missionary Baptist Church, president of the seniors’ monthly unity breakfast, also appreciated the laughter yoga.

“I love to exercise,” he said. “You’re teaching something to the elderly that is going to help them enjoy life more.”

Sain listed all the benefits of laughter, among them stress relief, relief from anxiety and depression, and boosting the immune system.

“I needed that. It just released a lot of things,” said Roberta J. Mercer of Speed, regarding the laughter yoga. “I’ll go back as a different person…on the better side.”

Among the other “feel good” experiences the seniors had at the Easter program were winning items in a raffle, playing musical chairs, singing Easter hymns – “Because He Lives” and “He Arose,” eating brightly-decorated cupcakes, and receiving recognition.

“You, seniors, we salute you on this morning, because without you, there wouldn’t be an us,” said Marva Scott, director of the Department of Social Services (DSS). Scott got the idea for the Easter celebration for seniors after a similar program in Columbus County and has coordinated the local celebration ever since.

“Our senior citizens have made a great contribution to this county and this is just a time to recognize them, and what better time than when we celebrate the resurrection of Christ?” said Scott.

Shawn Watson, guardianship case manager on the adult services unit for DSS, explained to the seniors that the cross is a Christians symbol of Jesus’ death on the cross and new life through his resurrection from the tomb. She also shared that Easter bunnies and Easter eggs both are signs of “new life,” which the spring season brings.

Patricia Foreman of Tarboro called Thursday’s program “very inspiring” and said she loved the interaction with other seniors.

“When you get to a certain age, you don’t get out too much, so it’s a time to enjoy fellowship,” Foreman said.

Julius and Christine Lloyd of Speed left Thursday’s program with smiles on their faces.

“I’d give it a perfect score,” Julius said. “We enjoyed it.”

“I think it made them feel special,” Jones said, of the Easter celebration.