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 fallÖon top of me. We ended up in a very compromising position. His response was, ĎWe 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 Ė 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 itÖthe situation was funny.”
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.”
The Lighter Side of Caregiving: Appreciate the Humor originally appeared on AgingCare.com.