Six years ago, I came to live in Sunrise Towers a seniors’ building of Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC), in Toronto. Though I accepted the challenge of living among over three hundred seniors, I was lost among them, and was very uncomfortable seeing them sitting idle with hardly a smile on their faces. I felt depressed and decided to change my attitude as well as theirs. I wanted to bring more laughter and happiness into their lives.
I started the Sunrise Laughter Yoga Club to involve them in Laughter Yoga – an ideal exercise routine for the elderly as it gets rid of stress, worry and depression. It alleviates feelings of loneliness and isolation and generates a sense of belonging. We now have regular classes every Monday, attended by seniors, who enjoy the session and report feeling more energised and happy at the end of it.
Besides our club, I took Laughter Yoga to several other organisations like schools, community centres and other tenant groups of TCHC. As the awareness about the benefits of laughter spread, more and more groups joined our sessions. We now do laughter exercises under our new brand ‘The Laughing Clinic’ where we hold tests, meditation, inspirational talks, and wellness and health promotion workshops. Besides providing medical facilities, we also help the seniors with their taxes and all this is totally free. I want to spread our activities even further to other senior communities and have plans to make Laughter Yoga as a permanent wellness program to as many seniors as possible as it gives them the opportunity to confide their emotions and express themselves freely.