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83-year-old brightens Nanaimo seniors community with daily 'smile pages'

Nanaimo, B.C. -

When she first moved into the seniors community, Angie Harvey was determined to keep being productive.

"I didn’t want my life to just degenerate into sitting around waiting for meals," the 83-year-old says.

While searching for something to spark her interest online, Angie happened upon research about the health benefits of laughter.

"At this stage of life, all of us have some kind of health challenges," Angie says.

So she began gathering information and images from the internet that amused her.

"It was hard to know where to stop," she says.

It felt so good, Angie wondered how she could spread the joy.

"I started looking for the potential of doing something that would make people smile," Angie says.

The former teacher used her computer and printer to create pages of positivity and began posting one per day in the lobby of her complex.

"People will stop and say, 'Oh! That was a funny you had there,'" Angie says of the project, which she dubbed the Daily Smile Pages.

They range from the sweet – like a picture of a kitten reclining on an exercise-ball accompanied by the caption "I started a new exercise routine everyday. I do diddly-squats'" – to the more substantial, like a comical cartoon followed by text that reads "laughter lowers blood pressure and can reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack."

"It also makes my day if somebody says, 'Oh, I didn’t know that,'" Angie says.

Angie’s Smile Pages have become so popular she’s earned the nickname the Smile Lady. Her positive output is so prolific, Angie’s collected her work into "Smile Books" based on different themes for people to peruse.

"I know it’s benefitting them," Angie says, referring to her research on the health benefits of being positive. "Sharing. That is one of the most important things."

Which is why Angie’s expanding her positive publishing pursuit to donate her time to make welcome cards for people moving into the Origin at Longwood senior living community in Nanaimo.

She's also creating custom birthday cards for all 202 of the complex’s current residents.

"Life is about giving," Angie says. "We’re here to share whatever knowledge we have, whatever pleasure we can give other people."

And if you strive to inspire smiles, Angie says while pointing to one of her favourite Smile Pages that shows a picture of a vibrant sunset taken from a neighbour’s balcony, you just might start noticing the world beaming right back at you. Top Stories

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