By David Ufford
Almost every time you turn on the TV, you see news of some medicine being recalled or having caused physical distress.
However, there is good news — a no-cost, no-risk way to improve your health: It's called laughter.
Humor and laughter have been proven to activate the immune system, and it increases the killer cells that attack viral infected cells and some types of cancer and tumors. One report says laughter seems to tell the immune system to “turn it up a notch."
The benefits of humor can include muscle relaxation, reduction of stress, immune system enhancement, pain reduction, cardiac exercise, blood pressure reduction and better respiration (similar to deep breathing).
Watching comedy videos or old comedy movies has proven to benefit the immune system and it doesn’t seem to matter if it is "I Love Lucy," Keystone Kops, Road Runner, Abbot and Costello or anything that gets you to laughing, and the harder the better.
There are several hospitals that use comedy and cartoon videos to assist with the healing process, especially for children. Fortunately our society is full of jokes, stories, pranks and humor that help us all, so "smile and bring your humor on down to the Benton Senior Activity Center."
Keep smiling and laughing every chance you get. Don’t miss out on the activities in December.
The facility at 210 Jefferson St. is open Monday-Friday. Participants are offered a professionally prepared hot lunch every day for a $2.50 donation.
This week’s menu will include on the listed days:
•Dec. 3 - Western Egg Substitute Omelet; Hashbrowns; Baked Tomatoes Oregano; Banana Muffins with Jelly; Peaches with Whipped Topping.
•Dec. 4 - Vegetable Soup; Turkey and Swiss On Wheat Bread, with Lettuce and Tomato; Fresh Fruit and Brownie.
•Dec. 5 - Pinto Beans with Ham; Mixed Greens; Roasted Potatoes; Mexican Cornbread; Peach Parfait.
•Dec. 6 - Chef Salad with Turkey and Ham; Five Cup Fruit Salad; Applesauce Cake.
•Dec. 7 - Fried Fish, Baked Potatoes, Hushpuppies, Beans, Onions, Coleslaw, Ice Cream
All meals include, skim milk, bread, coffee, tea, lemonade and water.
Activities for the specified days will include:
•Monday, Old Timers Band.
•Tuesday, PEPPI exercise program — Peer Exercise Program Promotes Independence. This form of exercise was developed at a university to help keep older adults' joints limber and their reflexes working for additional years. Exercise time is from 9:30 to 10 a.m.
Activities on Tuesday also include story-telling at 10 a.m. Participants share favorite stories, most of which relate to experiences from their own lives. Fay Green is the leader and shares her family stories. Others are encouraged to share theirs.
On Tuesday nights, the weekly dance is held at the center, beginning at 7 p.m. For a $5 admission fee, those attending may dance for several hours to a live band. Call 315-0645 for details.
•Wednesday, free bingo games. All prizes are donated items. People are encouraged to donate knickknacks and other items for this fun cause. The activity takes place from 10:30 to 11. Monthly birthday party is at 10 a.m. with dancing and Picking & Grinning Band.
•Thursday, PEPPI exercises from 9:30 to 10 a.m.
Also the monthly birthday party is held from 10 to 10:30 a.m. on Thursdays.
•Friday, activities include a time of devotion or inspirational music at 9:30 a.m.
Bean Bag Ball is offered every day at 9 a.m. Joe Fureigh is in charge of this activity. Dominoes and pool also are included in the regular activities. Decks of cards are available for card games as well.
The gift shop opens daily at 9 a.m. Novalene Callahan oversees this area.
If you come down Friday morning, you can see, hear and dance to Picking & Grinning playing “The Senior Boogie” and probably meet Lawrence Savage who wrote and recorded the tune. If you want to just watch, that’s OK, too. All the music is by our talented local musicians and is presented from 9 to 11 a.m.
"Remember Pearl Harbor," which will be observed on Friday, Dec. 7.
Quilting is also a popular activity at the center. Mae Clark is quilting leader and is in need of additional volunteers to help with quilting. To volunteer to help her, see her between 9 and 11 a.m. daily.
No dues or fees are required to participate in any of the events of the center.
Vans are available to pick up individuals who need transportation to and from the center.
Sherry Parsons is the director of the center, which is a component of the Central Arkansas Development Council.