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In Their Own Words: Funny Caregiving Stories

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“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!

Last revised: July 6, 2016

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Thoughts and stories from others
  1. July 19, 2016 at 3:35 pm | Posted by Peggy Woodard

    My siblings and I have discussed the fact that our sweet little Mamma no longer has much of a stop-gap when it comes to saying what's on her mind. The day she turned 88 her best friend and I took her to a little lunch cafe in my small town to celebrate. During the meal Mom started telling us about a man who had to have a woman come in to help him bathe. Quite loudly she told us the woman didn't wash his private parts, though - she just washed up as far as possible and down as far as possible but he washed "possible". As I was trying not to burst out in hysterical laughter, I noticed the other patrons also doing the same. We had a wonderful lunch!

    Reply

  2. July 15, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Posted by John

    Dad was in early stages of Alzheimer's when the doctors suggested he would do better with a new hip. Indeed, he had been in pain for many years. A couple of days after the successful surgery I was with dad in his hospital room. He was still lucid enough to recognize that he really didn't want to be in the hospital any longer than absolutely necessary . . . he had things to do. He asked what time it was so I pointed out the clock on the wall. He told me "I'll never get to go home if we use that clock . . . somebody needs to give it an enema!"

    Reply

  3. July 14, 2016 at 9:54 am | Posted by Allison cormier

    I was in care of an elderly couple, both with dementia. They were living in a ALF at the time. One night I came to help them get ready for bed. There had been to a big social with others in the facility. The wife was extremely upset because her husband had followed another women that looked like her to her apartment. The next morning I returned to get them ready for the day and was shocked to see that her husband had a black eye. He didn't even relize that he had it and nether did she. She said oh honey bee what happen to your eye? I laughed remembering the green eye jealous monster I had witnessed the night before.

    Reply

  4. July 13, 2016 at 7:08 pm | Posted by larae brown

    A friend's mother had Alzheimer's. They were celebrating their 75th anniversary. All the men were sitting around the room when she brought her mother in. The mother looked at all of them and said, "Now, which one of these am I married to?"

    Reply

  5. July 13, 2016 at 7:03 pm | Posted by Md

    Thanks to all for sharing these stories and they did make me smile. However, I cannot write any stories of my own for it is still too sad to think about. I'm really missing my grandmother and wish she was still here. She departed this world last year. I wish I could have done more for her.

    Reply

  6. July 13, 2016 at 5:48 pm | Posted by Barb Nagle

    I was a caregiver for a woman in an assisted living facility. She needed to use the restroom which was a public one by the dining area. She locked the door and couldn't remember how to open it. I had to crawl under the stall up between her legs. It was so small an area we both hardly fit. We both started laughing so hard she wet her pants again. Too funny.

    Reply

  7. July 13, 2016 at 5:20 pm | Posted by Dean Wallace

    My mom is 85 years old. My sister and I have been calling her for 2 days. We spoke with our niece and learnt that she was ok - just don't remember where she put the phone. Eventually I got hold of her and I asked her why she is not answering her phone - our mom being the funny lady she is said the phone is hard of hearing so it cannot her you when you call. She made my day I was in traffic but I laugh all the way home not even letting the traffic bother me.

    Reply

  8. July 13, 2016 at 4:40 pm | Posted by Willafay McKenna

    During a three-week period which finally ended about a month ago, each time my husband was asked his age, he answered "51". He is, in fact, 81. One day, he told me I look pretty good considering I'm 90. I told him I was not 90 but 80 and I asked him why on earth he had married someone 40 years his senior. He got it and began to laugh.

    Reply

  9. July 13, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Posted by Jane

    My husband is at the beginning stages of dementia. We stay home a lot and have recliner chairs to view TV shows in. They have cup holders in between. We each also have a table of sorts to our sides, for a phone, lamp, notepads, and the like. The phone rang one evening. It wasn't someone I wanted to talk to, so I handed him the phone to answer. He also had a phone on his table. So when he didn't take the phone from me, I assumed he wanted to use the other phone. When he didn't go for that one I assumed he didn't want to talk to him either. He reached for his water glass, put it up to his mouth., and said "hello". I laughed out loud, so loud, he started in as well. It's a great story we both tell..........

    Reply

  10. July 13, 2016 at 3:59 pm | Posted by Garrett Street

    My wife, 3 years into dementia, said she was unhappy with my caring for her. After arguing about how I take care of her, I finally said, "Why don't you get yourself a good man?" She said, "I don't want a good man, I want you."

    Reply

  11. July 13, 2016 at 3:46 pm | Posted by Tiffany

    My grandfather had Alzheimer's and was found wandering in a nearby mall. Security tracked down my mother and called her to come get him. She had put on tennis shoes with her work clothes because of a long walk to the parking lot and didn't think to change back into her nicer shoes when she arrived at the mall. When the security guard asked my grandfather if she was his daughter he said "No, my daughter wouldn't wear shoes like that!" We still laugh about it years later.

    Reply

  12. July 13, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Posted by Bobbie Sena

    There is absolutely nothing at all funny about the poor demented man who was being given someone else's false teeth. I wept overr dear friends who were suffering dementia and were cared for by mentally retarded care workers. Getting the wrong teeth, clothing, and other belongings is common and heartbreaking ; not funny.The " memory care" places even though very expensive pay minimum wage to very inept workers and it is a sad situation.

    Reply

  13. July 13, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Posted by Lt.Col. (Ret.) Patrick Hughes

    My wife and I haven't had sex in over 10 years, and one day she was in the tub being bathed, so I helped the caretaker lift her up and out of the tub. Then I said something about how good she looked skinny, and she said; "Yes, but you're still not getting any!"

    Reply

  14. July 12, 2016 at 12:07 pm | Posted by Sue Reynolds

    My 85 year old mom is always trying to charm my Siamese cat Missie to approach her. I suggested that she call her and offer her some treats so she called the cat and waved the bag saying 'I have some treats for you!' While the cat looked at her and didn't move, I suggested she put some treats on the floor and see if she'll approach. So she put the bag down, still sealed and said 'Here Missie, come get some treats!' ....I guess I need to be more specific...:)

    Reply

  15. July 10, 2016 at 11:20 am | Posted by Darlene Stockman

    We had both of my parents living with us until my father passed away at age 91. My mother, who is still with us, was already pretty far along with dementia and we tried to get my dad to understand that she couldn't always tell TV from reality. He had a hard time understanding that until one day we were all watching a western together. A cowboy opened the door to a cabin and yelled in, "Anybody home?" My mother yelled "Yes" at the TV. The cowboy asked again, "Anybody home?" and this time she yelled louder, "Yes, come on in!" We all had a good laugh.

    Reply

    • July 14, 2016 at 1:04 pm | Posted by Charlann Kable

      my mom talks to the TV at times as well. One day we were watching a cooking show and she told the lady on TV "I'll have some of that" When the lady of course did not respond, she got mad and said "that lady is greedy, she won't share her food"

      Reply

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