Find the JOY in the smallest things. Smile. Laugh.
Just as it’s normal to feel frustrated and even get angry, it’s important for caregiver survival to find the JOY in the smallest things.
For me, it was that fleeting moment of recognition.
After a visit, my father and I rose to go our separate ways. As he strolled down the hall in the nursing home, I almost reached the lobby doors when I heard my name. Clearer than anything I had heard from my father for a long time, he asked, “Brenda, did you take care of the papers?”
He remembered me. He called me by name!
A caregiver for her husband found the JOY in a coffee cup.
Helen Jones reminded us to laugh hard and laugh often. She’d attend each support group meeting with a thought-provoking question such as, “Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?” One afternoon while preparing dinner, the phone rang. Her husband Jim who had lived with Alzheimer’s was frustrated at not being able to communicate. The whole day, he had been agitated. She was preparing them dinner. She writes:
The phone rang.
As I was starting to wipe the flour off my hands to answer it, I heard Jim say, “Hello.”
He said it once, twice, and then again, getting louder each time. But the phone kept ringing.
Before long, he was angrily shouting, “HELLO!” Meanwhile, the phone continued to ring.
I peered around the corner into the living room and there was Jim, holding the coffee cup to his ear, shouting, while coffee dripped from his ear, to his lowered chin, and onto his chest.
The whole thing just struck me so funny, that I had to return to the kitchen. Grabbing a towel, I put it over my face and had the best laugh I’d had in a long time.
I know this sounds cruel, but under the constant stress of caregiving, you either laugh or cry and I had already cried enough.
Find JOY and Laugh.
At least Smile at life’s smallest things
in order to go on Caregiving.
Think about it from your care recipient’s point of view.
Would you rather be cared for by a grouch or one who wrings out every ounce of JOY during life’s sadness?
If I were a doctor (I am not), I’d prescribe the following to get you on the right path: Rx Humor for Caregivers.