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Itís Okay to Laugh: Appreciate the Humor in Caregiving

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Itís Okay to Laugh: Appreciate the Humor in Caregiving

By Marlo Sollitto, AgingCare.com contributing editor.

Unexpected humorous moments are common in caregiving. In fact, caregiving can be enlivened by the unprompted remarks and unintentional antics of an elderly parent.

But should we feel guilty about laughing? Is our laughter a sign of disrespect or a lack of love for our family member? Do we want to laugh but don’t because we’re afraid of seeming insensitive?

Even in the most dire of circumstances, elder care professionals insist that it is OK, even helpful, to laugh. “Not only is laughing OK, it’s absolutely necessary,” says Cindy Laverty, a former caregiver who founded The Care Company and The Cindy Laverty talk show, a first-of-its-kind forum that discusses the topic of care.

When Laverty was unexpectedly thrust into caregiving, she had to learn how to navigate the complex and overwhelming world of caregiving. But through that journey, she discovered how she could not only survive, but thrive amid the challenges. Finding and holding onto humorous stories of your own can help you keep an upbeat perspective in spite of the challenges of being a caregiver, she explains.

How to Stop Being So Hard On Yourself

“We go into caregiving with this big dark cloud hanging over us Ė it’s stressful, it’s so awful. When we go in with that attitude, that’s what it becomes. It is stressful and awful, but when we’re having a horrible day, a good day is sure to follow. And even in the midst of those horrible days, there are funny moments that happen. Recognize and appreciate those moments,” she says.

Take Alzheimer’s disease for example. It robs elders of their memories and ability to care for themselves, and that is tragic. Certainly Alzheimer’s is an awful disease, and there is nothing funny about it. But there are funny moments that happen. When you laugh, you’re not laughing at them; you’re laughing because the moment is funny. “If we don’t follow the whole spectrum of emotion, we get lost in the oppression of a chronic disease,” Laverty explains.

Your laughter can also send a positive, non-alarming message to the elder. If you don’t get upset during a challenging, it’s likely that they won’t either. Laughing can turn into a tension relieving exercise for the caregiver and person with Alzheimer’s who, while cognitively impaired, is still greatly influenced by ambient tensions.

Related:
Why Helping Other Caregivers May Make You Happier
Caregiving: A Legacy To Be Proud Of
Constantly Feeling Mad, Guilty? How to Break Out of a Mental Rut

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

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AgingCare.com connects family caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing options for people caring for their elderly parents. AgingCare.com is a trusted resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.

42 comments

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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

Thanks.

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 together...as much as cry together...is exactly what got our family through times like this.

5:51AM PST on Jan 27, 2012

Thanks.

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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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