Caregiving is one of the most challenging jobs on earth—it can be both rewarding and defeating at times. A family caregiver’s emotions can quickly cycle from the highest highs to the lowest lows and back again. This responsibility can be overwhelming, but many family caregivers credit their unyielding optimism and sense of humor with the ability to power through even the toughest trials.

The Caregiver Forum receives countless stories from family caregivers throughout the United States and even the globe. Our members laugh, cringe and cry with one another as they share their unique experiences caring for aging and ill loved ones. To help brighten up your day, we have curated some of the most touching and humorous elder care stories from real family caregivers like you.

Funny Caregiving Stories

“Mom is 91 years old and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. She also has a distended abdomen from a hiatal hernia, misshapen feet from having worn ill-fitting shoes, and has had a mastectomy. (She could also lose a few pounds.) I recently I overheard her tell her aide while bathing, ‘Don’t be jealous of my body!’ ”

“My wife has Alzheimer’s and I put some jewelry on her for a Christmas party one year. While waiting to leave, she took one of her bracelets off. I put it on again, and she took it back off—neither of us saying much to one another as we went back and forth. The next time she took it off, I picked up the bracelet, set it on the table and said, ‘Okay, maybe you should not wear this tonight.’ All was silent until she quietly said (without looking at me), ‘You have got some attitude.’ I had to LOL!”

“One night at the dinner table, my father (who has dementia) asked my husband and I if we were married. After we told him we were, he started singing, ‘All I want for Christmas is my mem-or-ree!’ I’m glad Dad can laugh about this!”

“Yesterday, I came home from work and Mom came out to the kitchen to greet me. I said, ‘Mom, you have on my sweatpants!’ We each have a pair of the same soft, comfy green sweats, but hers are a size 14 and mine are a few sizes bigger. She said, ‘I thought I had lost a lot of weight!’ Then she pulled up her shirt to show me that she had pinned the pants to her bra to keep them up! We had a good laugh!”

“My mother is a little peanut of a woman—barely five feet tall. For some reason, all the exam tables in doctor’s offices are way too high, but they still expect Mom to haul herself onto them. One day, a nurse was trying to help Mom and complimented her on her ability to get up on the table. Mom turned to her and said, ‘I’m little, but I’m mighty.’ The nurse could not stop laughing.”

“I was kneeling beside Mom’s bed last night while she was saying her bedtime prayer. This night she prayed, ‘Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray he takes me like an earthquake.” The last part should be, ‘I pray the lord my soul to take.’ I questioned her rendition and Mom laughed and said, ‘Well, I couldn’t remember the rest and... well, it rhymed!’ Amen!”

Appreciating Seniors’ Inappropriate Humor

“My mom lived in an assisted living facility where everyone left the doors to their rooms open. One man with Alzheimer’s was always restless and walked the halls endlessly. On one visit, she mentioned that he had tried to crawl into bed with her one night. I asked, ‘What did you do?!’ Apparently, she told him he was in the wrong room and he left. Then she added, ‘What good is a man in your bed if he can’t remember anything...?’ ”

“My father has had a couple of strokes and has trouble with finding and interchanging words a lot. One day, we got in the car to go shopping and he started yelling to stop the car. I asked him why and he told me he had left his balls at home. He was speaking about his wallet. Now it is a running joke—when we leave the house, we ask if him if he has his balls. This is only one of many funnies!”

“My mother, who has Alzheimer’s and lives in a skilled nursing facility, called me one night to tell me she ‘just had the most wonderful shower’ and she wanted to know if she should tip the man that bathed her. I told her, ‘Only if you had a good time.’ Turns out, it was actually a woman that gave her the shower, but with her bad eyesight, Mom thinks anyone with short hair is a man...”

“My dad has a CNA come twice a week to assist him with bathing. I mentioned to him yesterday that he should get her something for Christmas. He told me to pick her up one of those things that you ‘rub and it grows.’ After a few questions, I discovered he meant a Chia Pet!”

“One night after turning down the covers and placing a glass of water next to her side of the bed, my mother asked Dad (with Alzheimer’s) if he was coming to bed. He replied, ‘Oh, NO! My wife would kill me, but thank you for offering.’ This happened after 10 years of her caring for him.
– jquinn7

“My mother can’t hear well enough to follow conversations in noisy environments, so usually she just sits quietly and doesn’t participate. During a loud family get-together, my oldest son was pondering what he should get his best friend as a wedding gift. Out of the blue, my conservative mom loudly suggested, ‘CONDOMS!’ The room went silent until we all burst out laughing!”
– djheichel

Embarrassing Caregiving Moments

“My parents and I were in a doctor’s waiting room when we saw an old friend. We talked with him briefly and then went back to our seats. Mom (who is deaf) kept saying over and over REALLY loud, ‘Wow, has he gained a lot of weight. Looks like he’s really going downhill.’ I couldn’t make her stop, so I just died inside and smiled outside. I tried my best to say ‘sorry’ by osmosis to the dear man, who happened to be my very first employer.”

“My 83-year-old mother is living with us now. We finally got her to go out and eat with us one night. When we got our food, she said LOUDLY, ‘Well no wonder you all never lose weight!’ I wanted to crawl under the table… LOL!”

“My mom has Alzheimer’s. She asked for a chocolate donut one day, but I didn’t have any on hand. The next morning, I told her to stay in bed for a few more minutes until I finished dressing and I would have a surprise for her if she waited. She said, ‘You found a husband?!’ I said, ‘No, Mom, just a chocolate donut for you.’ Lol”

“My 84-year-old mother frequently thinks of me as her three-year-old toddler. I was reminded not long ago that my 47-year-old face isn’t quite what she remembers. I was kneeling next to her bed when she began, ‘Frances, my little pumpkin-chan…’ Then she stopped and looked at me in horror and said, ‘WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?!’ ”

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Inspiration for Caregivers from Caregivers

“It is not patience you need; it is compassion.”

“My mom used to say, ‘The best thing about having Alzheimer’s or dementia is that every day is brand new. Now this is travelling light!’ ”

“Don’t take life too seriously or you’ll never get out of it alive!”

“My momma always used to tell me, ‘It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping themselves too.’ Thinking about this really helps me get through the times that I feel discouraged. I know that, through helping her, I’m also making changes in my life and helping myself!”

“After being forced against her will to move into an assisted living facility and months of unhappiness there, my mom now hugs and kisses everyone when I bring her back after a family outing. She’s so happy to see all her friends and that makes me feel happy and much less guilty.”
– judy1

Heartwarming Caregiving Stories

“This weekend, Dad was frantically searching for ‘Krissy’ (the nickname he’s called me by since I was a girl). I didn’t correct him and tell him I was Krissy. Instead, I pulled out a childhood picture of me that he keeps in his room and said, ‘Here she is!’ He smiled and said, ‘This is my baby girl, Krissy. I love my baby girl.’ As the tears rolled down my cheeks, I said, ‘She loves you, too.’ ”

“During one of my parents’ visits to our home, my Dad was waiting to go out for breakfast and he went to see if my mother was all ready to leave. With a tear in his eye, he looked at her and told me, ‘Your mother is still beautiful.’ They are going on 63 years of marriage.”

“Today I sat my mother in a comfy chair near the Christmas tree and I put the ornament boxes on her lap. She felt so useful as she handed me each one. I put Christmas music on in the background, and we sung along with the tunes. We both felt so happy by the time the tree was decorated. I took her picture next to the tree and will be sending copies to the relatives. She felt really special!”

“I was sitting with my mom, who is in the final stages of vascular dementia, when suddenly she looked me straight in the eyes and said tenderly, ‘I love you.’ I was so touched and replied, ‘I love you, too.’ She smirked and then asked, ‘Now, who are you?’ We both laughed. When I told her I was her daughter, Mom got teary and exclaimed, ‘You are mine?!’ She was visibly grateful and thrilled—as was I!”

“My dad (Parkinson’s disease) was living in a nursing home when he contracted pneumonia and began receiving comfort care. One day, we wheeled my 93-year-old Mom in to visit him. He woke up with a smile and looked at her. ‘You got your hair done,’ he remarked. He had macular degeneration and was blind, but somehow he saw that his wife of 75 years had been to the hairdresser. He died a few days later at 96.”

Looking for more ways to find the humor in caregiving? Visit AgingCare’s topic page: Caregiving Humor