Thriving Across the Lifespan and Around the Globe: Day in the Life Visual Research Approach

“When you Laugh, the World is Again Beautiful”: Use of Humour by Thriving Older Adults

Author(s): Nora Didkowsky*, E. Leslie Cameron and Catherine Ann Cameron

Pp: 112-123 (12)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681088808121010016

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


While applying our audiovisual approach to capture a Day in the Life (DITL) of a thriving older-adult couple aged 87 and 97 years in Switzerland, we were struck by their ubiquitous and deliberate use of humour. We identified the types of humour used and the ways in which their humorous interactions served multiple socio-emotional, cognitive, physical, and linguistic functions that appear to support thriving. The older adults' use of humour enabled them to: Deal with current daily stressors and navigate complex psychosocial and physical transitions in the present; revisit and cope with traumatic experiences from the past; and impart valuable life lessons that prepare them, and others, for future challenges. The more that older adults can exploit their psychosocial and other strengths to master their landscapes, the more successful can be their negotiation of older adulthood.

Keywords: Aging, Humour, Older Adults, Resilience, Stress and Coping, Thriving.

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