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Living, loving & laughing with Lucy

Spreading the secret to a happy, long life in SCV

Posted: November 16, 2008 6:33 p.m.
Updated: November 17, 2008 4:30 a.m.

The "Live, Love and Laugh" support group, led by Castaic resident Lucy Reynolds-Hockett, offers lively discussions, fun and challenging games, and activities that help people stay mentally active and singing a happier tune.

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It's an all-too-familiar fact of life: The Golden Years aren't always as bright as we hoped they would be.

This can be due to many reasons, including chronic health challenges, loss of family members and friends, children being grown and gone, feelings of isolation and loneliness, and other age-related vicissitudes.

The key to coping with these stressors is the ability to view the world through a more joyful lens and keeping the mind busy. Such activities, gerontological experts say, can even help prevent depression and promote better health.

Among many positive paths found at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center that aid on this mission is its "Live, Love and Laugh" support group. Led by Castaic resident Lucy Reynolds-Hockett, the group offers lively discussions, fun and challenging games, and activities that help people stay mentally active and singing a happier tune. The age range of the active group is approximately 50 to 85.

Reynolds-Hockett understands the importance of living, loving and laughing. After her husband died, she initially became a volunteer to help others and focus less on her own problems.

As many seniors find, Reynolds-Hockett said, such meaningful activity can minimize a great deal of negative thinking, and replace joy where there was formerly sadness.

"Living, loving and laughing is what it's all about in life," the veteran sage explained. "Our group is very outgoing and always filled with jokes and news items. Our discussions are always enlightening and everyone makes sure they put in their own opinions!"

A former volunteer for Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital's Adult Day Care Unit, Reynolds-Hockett has also entertained and engaged residents at Canyon Villa Apartments. There, she led residents in playing Uno, Bunco and performing creative crafts.

It was in 2004 that Reynolds-Hockett's first began leading "Live, Love and Laugh" groups at the Willows (Senior) Apartments in Newhall.

"I found the people there so delightful and felt I learned more from them than they could ever learn from me." she recalled.

Soon after, the Live, Love and Laugh specialist joined the Senior Center, first coming in as a volunteer, then hiring into the Supportive Services department. Her current position includes a Friday 1 p.m. LLL group at the Senior Center, helping with the In-Home Service Dept., serving as a receptionist for the busy Supportive Services team, and also facilitating LLL to the Center's Adult Day Care clients on Thursday and Friday mornings. As if that's not enough, she also offers a Thursday LLL group at Canterbury Senior Apartments in Newhall.

"Lucy leads her groups with enthusiasm, wit and a whole lot of humor!" said SuzAnn Nelsen, supportive services director. "Live, Love and Laugh is a wonderful place to socialize, laugh, and have stimulating conversation with your peers."

"The Live, Love and Laugh group offers an escape from stress and depression - if only for an hour at a time," said Nelsen. Reynolds-Hockett invites community members to join in on the "living, laughing and loving."

"I enjoy helping people feel happy," she said. "These groups seldom get serious. We're too busy talking, having fun and celebrating life."

Anyone interested in contacting Lucy Reynolds-Hockett to discuss Live Love and Laugh or other Senior Center Supportive Services can call (661) 255-1588. The SCV Senior Center is located at 22900 Market St., Newhall. Online: www.scvsc.org.

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