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In Their Own Words: Funny Caregiving Stories

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July 6, 2016

“My sweet husband is in the late middle stage of this disease that has robbed his memory. However, we laugh aloud daily. His sense of humor is sharper and quicker than ever. He does get words mixed up quite often though. Our recent anniversary was our 50th ‘reversible,’ for example. But the most embarrassing to me—and the funniest to the three young adults riding with us in our car—was when I was having difficulty removing a CD from the player and he told me to push the ‘erection button’!!!”
- Sandra, caregiver of a person with dementia

Let’s face it: sometimes you can’t help but laugh. Alzheimer’s is not a funny disease, but you need the ability to chuckle in order to get through some of the surreal and absurd situations that the disease can place you (and your loved one) in.

If you feel the urge to laugh during your caregiving day, you don’t always have to fight it. Laughter can be a healthy coping mechanism. Did you know the therapeutic benefits of laughter have actually been studied? Indeed, researchers say laughing not only relieves stress in the moment, but it can have lingering benefits. When you laugh regularly, you might boost your immunity and reduce the level of stress hormones circulating in your body.

To encourage healthy laughter, we asked members of our Remember for Alzheimer’s Facebook community  to share their funniest caregiving stories. We hope at least one of these makes you smile.

“One day early in my wife’s battle with Alzheimer’s I made a statement about not remembering where I put something. She looked at me and asked if I needed one of her pills.”
– Mike

“My dear mom was about in mid stages of Alzheimer’s at this time, and I could take her for rides in my car. Well, they were doing work on the road, and a guy was holding the stop sign that he would turn to ‘slow’ to let cars pass. When we were approaching the man, he had turned the sign to ‘stop.’ She says in disgust: that’s ridiculous!!! And I said why Momma? She said: back in my day, they cemented those signs in the ground! They didn’t have to stand there all day and hold them!!! I laughed so hard and she still didn’t understand – I just looked at her and said, Momma, I love you so much!!!!”
– Joan

“So I was talking to the lady I care for, Miss Gladys. She is 85 years young. We were talking about old boyfriends. She said there was one boyfriend she had who ‘sure was ugly,’ and then she broke out laughing out loud. That really made my day, for her to remember someone from her past and find humor in it. I cherish the time I spend with her and hearing her laughter.”
– Vikki

“Both of my dad’s parents had Alzheimer’s, and I cared for them for 3 years. My grandmother rarely knew who we were or understood what was happening around her. However, her ornery Scottish/Irish sense of humor broke through occasionally. One day, after asking where Grandpa was for the umpteenth time, my dad teased her with, ‘He ran off with a pretty, young blonde.’ Her instant response was, ‘Well, I hope he remembers what they’re for!’ We were rolling with laughter.”
– Deedee

“When my mother had Alzheimer’s, my dad stayed at my brother’s for a while when we had caregivers coming to her home to help take care of her. One day I took her to visit my dad. She couldn’t really remember him, but she was a little smitten with him. On the way home she asked me, ‘That man, Dave, does he have any kids?’ I said ‘Yes, he has five kids.’ She said, ‘Well I don’t want anything to do with him then’.”
– Marilyn

“My mom hated sports all her life, but when she developed Alzheimer’s, she began watching hockey games. We had a good chuckle over that when she still had lucid moments.”
– Nora

“Because mom had her own ideas of where things belong, I was looking for a green plate when getting ready to do dishes. Since there is only her and I in the house I knew it had to be somewhere. Like always I look in the usual places, and when I couldn’t find it I decided to use the bathroom...the seat was down and when I lifted it up, there was the green plate floating in the toilet bowl! I laughed so hard I nearly wet my pants!”
– Amy

“One time my Mother misplaced her cell phone for the millionth time, and she had it on vibrate for some reason. Anyway searching for a phone that is essentially off is hard. We looked in every room in the house, under beds, furniture and no phone. For some reason we were in her bedroom and we kept calling the phone and we heard the vibrations. The phone was in her shoe in the closet wrapped in a paper towel. Why-who knows. She has Alzheimer’s and no matter what strange things she does we find that laughter is good for us, especially in front of her. We just cheer her on to do all she can for herself, and we take care of the rest.”
– Dianna

“My father had lost his false teeth for about four weeks. My sister was round to cook him some dinner and found his teeth in the frozen peas in freezer. Then at the home where he was residing when he passed away, we found six pairs off false teeth [in his room]. Now I understand when he said his teeth hurt him – they weren’t his!”
– Paul

Now that you’ve read some amusing anecdotes from others, why not join in? Share your own funny caregiving story in the comments below.

Don’t miss out on the fun(ny). All of the stories above were shared by subscribers to our Help for Alzheimer’s Families newsletter and members of our Remember for Alzheimer’s Facebook community. Subscribe or join today!

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. July 23, 2016 at 5:10 pm | Posted by Pam Martin

    I once cared for a man who had "sundowners" and he roamed through the house at night, in the nude. I awakened one night o find him roaming in the nude, except that he was wearing a kitchen apron, complete with a pretty bow he had tied in the back. I told him he looked cute and when I asked him why he put it on, he said "because I was cold".


  2. July 22, 2016 at 9:43 am | Posted by Sara Aguirre

    Thank you!!! Glad that I read about these life funny experiences, I loved laughing at the true stories,I really needed that! and what a wonderful way to start the day! Hope there are more to come Sara


  3. July 20, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Posted by Rita Morse

    Years ago, my grandmother who lived with us and had dementia, used to love to watch "The Beverly Hillbillies". At the end the cast would all wave at the camera and my grandmother would demand that we wave back! Also, if there was a love scene on TV, she'd tell us to "cover our eyes and not watch." Every time we'd laugh she'd laugh with us, so I guess she didn't mind.


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