Humor and Caregiving – Learning How to Laugh

Humorous moments, often unexpected, are common in caregiving for someone with Alzheimer’s. Even in the most challenging of circumstances, most often it’s okay to laugh. Caregiving can be stressful, so it’s important to go into it with an upbeat attitude and be ready to face the tough times.

Particularly with Alzheimer’s, there is nothing funny about the disease. But there are funny moments that happen. When you laugh, you’re not laughing at your loved one, you’re laughing because the moment is funny. Your laughter can also send a positive message to your loved one and relieve tension.

When the going gets tough, it’s important to look at the lighter side of the situation whenever possible. Cindy Laverty, who hosts a national radio show around caregiving, shares a story about her mother-in-law who has Alzheimer’s and how she dealt with a stressful moment at bath time.

Her mother-in-law refused to bathe, because the Alzheimer’s made her afraid of the water. One evening, Laverty ran a warm bath, put Mr. Bubble in it, lit some candles, played a Dean Martin CD and poured a glass of non-alcoholic champagne (her mother-in-law’s favorite drink back in the day) “She got right in the bathtub. But then we couldn’t get her out,” Laverty laughs.

Laverty reminds us that caregiving is our final walk with our loved one. “What do you want that journey to look like? Do you want it be miserable and laden with despair?” she asks. “Or do you want it to be a special time in which special memories are made?”

Caregiving is hard, there’s no question about that. But, during the tough times, it can be too easy to forget the importance of humor. Etch the funny memories in your spirit, and hold them in your heart. When your loved one is gone, you’ll be glad you did. Remember that laughter is the best medicine for everyone. 

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