Want a good laugh? Head to the hospital. | Weatherhead

Want a good laugh? Head to the hospital.

Posted 7.15.2015

J. B. SilversHospitals around the country now offer social activities and other benefits to help seniors stay healthy and out of the hospital, while encouraging them to visit. J.B. Silvers, PhD, John R. Mannix Medical Mutual of Ohio Professor of Health Care Finance and Professor of Banking and Finance, comments on how new Medicare payment incentives and penalties encourage hospitals to "think more broadly about what health care really is" in this article in The Washington Post.


Article by Susan Jaffe, The Washington Post, July 6, 2015

Every month, a group of older adults goes to Washington’s Sibley Memorial Hospital, but they don’t see a doctor or get tests. They’re not sick. They come just for laughs.

They gather in a room next to the hospital cafeteria for the “Laugh Cafe,” one of the activities offered to local seniors, including the 7,300 members of Sibley’s Senior Association. The price of admission is one joke, recited out loud. Experts say laughing can be good for your health, and everyone in the room strongly agrees.

“Absolutely, it’s the best medicine,” said Joanne Philleo, 79, from Bethesda.

“I like to come with Joanne, and I love the jokes,” said Jean Altimont, 89. “I never dreamed of telling a joke in front of a group, and the first time I came, I was real nervous.”

Some jokes took a few twists before getting to the punchline, a few were almost R-rated, others were one-liners: My husband wanted more space, so I left him outside. I sold my vacuum because it was gathering dust. Why do men like smart women? Because opposites attract.

And if one had been told before, no one cared.

The association for those age 50 or older also offers other activities, including French and Italian conversation classes, day trips to museums, a current events group, and — the latest addition — tango lessons. In addition, members receive discounts on hospital parking and at the gift shop, pharmacy and restaurant. In all, more than 10,000 seniors participate.


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