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Prof. Jiri Mares, PhD


Positive Aspects of Old Age: Humor in Elderly People


Old age in human beings is traditionally viewed as the stage of life when most important functions are on decline. Positive psychology, however, has turned both scientific and public attention to those aspects of personality which could actually improve with old age and make life a more fulfilling experience. Some of these include gratitude, prudence, wisdom, realistic self-concept, satisfaction with life, spirituality, search for meaning in life, and passing on cultural heritage. One distinctive positive trait found in many old people is humor. At the moment, empirical studies devoted to the question of how humor works in old people are scarce. The contribution summarizes existing knowledge regarding the impact of humor on quality of life, functions and determinants of humor, as well as assessment issues and intervention options focusing on the enhancement of humor in elderly people. One part of the paper is devoted especially to the employment of humor in senior health care and the effects of humor on the curing process.