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Its Okay to Laugh: Appreciate the Humor in Caregiving

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Moments of Humor

When Laverty was caring for her father-in-law, who had open heart surgery and a stroke, one of his favorite activities was golfing. Of course, he could no longer hit the greens, so the Laverty’s set up a chipping station for him in the backyard. “He couldn’t balance well, due to the stroke. When he swung the golf club, I had to squat down and hold his belt, so he wouldn’t fall. One time, he did fallon top of me. We ended up in a very compromising position. His response was, We have to stop meeting like this.’ We both just cracked up. It lightened up the moment, and turned an awkward situation into a hilarious one.”

Laverty’s mother-in-law also provided some comic relief during her bout with Alzheimer’s disease. She was missing her four front teeth each one lost when she bit various home health workers. “If someone bent over, or got too close, she would bite them,” Laverty says. “Needless to say, that is a dangerous and unwanted behavior. But no matter what we tried, we couldn’t get her to stop. Getting a caregiver to stick around wasn’t easy. But you can’t deny itthe situation was funny.”

Lessons for Caregivers

Laverty also found ways to lighten up stressful moments. Like 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.

Simple Joys Make Life Worth Living

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? Or do you want it to be a special time in which special memories are made? At the end of the day, as mad as I got at my in-laws when I was caregiving, I’d give anything if I could just hold their hand one more time.”

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Your Life: Pleasantly Purposeful, Or Dull Drudgery? You Decide

The Lighter Side of Caregiving: Appreciate the Humor originally appeared on

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4:25AM PST on Feb 11, 2012

When my Mom got Alzheimer's, her whole personality changed. She was doing and saying things that she would never have done or said before. If I laughed at her, she would laugh right along with me some days. If she was afraid or scared of something I would laugh and tell her it was OK and then, she didn't look so afraid any more.

3:30PM PST on Feb 5, 2012

Thanks for this!

8:51AM PST on Jan 30, 2012

interesting. thanks for the article.

11:11AM PST on Jan 29, 2012

thanks for sharing this

8:16AM PST on Jan 29, 2012

Quote of the Day:
A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.
- William Arthur Ward

2:46AM PST on Jan 28, 2012

God bless you and thank you! :)

4:52PM PST on Jan 27, 2012


3:00PM PST on Jan 27, 2012

Really? Why are we even being given the thought that laughing is BAD!? If you are a kind and loving person let your heart be your guild.

6:23AM PST on Jan 27, 2012

Being able to laugh much as cry exactly what got our family through times like this.

5:51AM PST on Jan 27, 2012


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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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