MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — Penn State Harrisburg students Alexis Stoner and Michaela Lowery opened their presentation to residents of the Frey Village retirement community in Middletown with a video of a man laughing on a bus. Soon other passengers joined him, even though they did not know the object of his mirth.
And soon, Frey Village residents were also laughing, even if they weren't sure why. And that was the point, said Stoner, who is interested in working with intergenerational programs after she graduates.
“You couldn't help but laugh,” Lowery said. “It's contagious. This shows the importance of laugh therapy. It doesn't matter if it's real or fake. It sends happy chemicals to your brain. ... It releases dopamine and endorphins which keep the brain healthier.”
Their assignment in the class Perspectives on Aging, taught by A. Patricia Aguilera in the college's human development and family studies (HDFS) program, was to research topics that could be useful to an aging population, then present them in a lively and entertaining way.