While caring for a loved one with dementia, there are painful moments, which make us wonder if we can go on. For some, within that pain, lies an opportunity for laughter. This is how we survive. Caregiver humor is like that – bittersweet.
She Is Much Nicer Than You Are
Retired nurse-turned caregiver, Jeanne Parsons, writes in Finding the JOY in Alzheimer’s about her mom stepping on her last nerve. Driven to the breaking point, she finds humor in moments like this:
As Mom declined, she would get irritated with me when I’d redirect her from doing something unsafe, like walking outside by herself or using the stove without help.
One day, when she was especially annoyed with my redirection, she walked down the hall to the
bathroom, and stood in front of the mirror.
From where I was sitting, I could see her talking to her reflection in the mirror.
A few minutes later she returned to me and said, “The lady in the bathroom is MUCH nicer than you are!”
A Face Only a Mother Could Love
My father held onto his diplomacy with a twist of dry humor until a year and a few months before he died.
I witnessed some remarkable and lucid moments within an ever-changing sea of existence. I was curious to see how self-aware he was at age 89, less than three years after being diagnosed with dementia.
One afternoon, when my father was still able to draw on his sense of humor, I pulled out a mirror and held it in front of his face.
“See that face?” I asked.
My father studied his reflection.
“That’s a face only a mother could love,” I joked.
While continuing to look at his reflection, he replied with the greatest of sincerity, “A mother couldn’t be that discreet.”