Sense of Humor...


People, please forgive me if you don't find this amusing. My sense of humour is my best defense against my 90-something mother's dementia and her constant unreasonable demands. I was inspired to write this when I noticed that I was almost out of peanut butter - and it occurred to me how my mother would interpret it: Perfect sense: "Hey - my peanut butter jar on the kitchen counter is almost empty! I don't remember almost finishing off that peanut butter. Someone must have stolen it! Someone broke into my apartment and stole my peanut butter!! But there's no sign of break-in. It must have been someone in management who has a key! It must be Eva because she looks Eastern European. Also, she's overweight, so she's probably one of those people who can't control their eating. Yes that's it! She saw my peanut butter during the annual apartment inspection last month, and she resolved to come back to steal it!! I'm calling the police!" We did in fact have to convince her to not call the police when she thought a small bathroom rug was stolen which the caregiver had taken out to wash. Another time she was absolutely convinced that someone stole her prune juice! She had hidden it under the couch and when I found it, it was past the due date so I threw it out. And she's so upset when we don't seem to believe her - she complains that we believe everybody else except her. Everyone here seems to have similar stories. Sigh.

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I love it! My Mom has Alzheimer's, just had to place she and step-father in long term assisted living a few weeks ago. I must say that God has his hands on those caregivers; especially when it comes to my step-father....oye vey...and I'm not Jewish!
Both our daughter and myself use humor when things like this happen.
It's like really Mom, you think so and so did this? Well, you just sit tight and I'm going to set things straight right now! Nobody can come in here and mess with your things much less steal from you. Then I'd walk out and let the caregiver in on it and stand outside the door chastising the person so your Mom will think it's being taken care of by you. Then make sure they have extra supplies for her; that way you can come back in with a new jar of peanut butter.
See Mom, I took care of that! Any time you have a problem like this, you just let me know.
She'll be happy until the next time. It will be hard to keep from laughing.
People get way too serious about these conditions. I'm not saying that these issues are funny, but laughter is the best medicine....for you.
Statistics show that the more you can laugh about stressful situations, the better it is for you and your heart. What you have going on Susansusan should be looked at more like a prank. No one is being hurt and your Mom gets satisfaction. Then you and the caregiver can laugh about it when you're out of ear shot with Mom.

Laugh people. There isn't any harm with laughing and you're not going to help for doing it. Yes, it breaks our hearts, but wouldn't you rather remember the time when Mom or Dad did something like this and you were able to make that lemonade out of the lemons you're dealing with right now?,

One time in the hospital Mom said, "See, they've got it set up in here like a haunted house to scare me." She said, "See that gargoyle over there?"

I was like, "Say what??" And she pointed to a disposable glove dispenser with a pair of gloves sticking out the top (I guess those were the wings).

Val3rie I think it's the persons mind playing tricks on all of us! Lol these are great stories and Susan you are so right, a sense of humor makes all the difference! I think we all have these stories if we think about it but some of you are so good at telling them! Reading a few of these reminded me of my husbands grandmother who was 100 when she passed. It's not a funny story but it is touching and one that gives me piece and makes me smile each time I'm reminded of it. My father in law (her son) cared for her in his home for her last few years and for the most part her memory was good and her mind in the present but the last few weeks of her life every morning when he would go in when she woke up and she would tell him all about her "trip" the night before. She was taking a train trip every night and visiting her family all over the country and would tell my FIL all about who she saw and the visit. There were some nights she either woke in the middle of the night screaming or told him about it the next morning (I don't remember which) but she thought someone who meant her harm was standing over her on the train, those weren't fun stories but for the most part it was a really wonderful thing, she actually seemed to experience a last visit with each of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to say goodbye and eventually she came to the end of her journey and passed in her sleep, maybe on that train.

My Mom had this obsession that the mailman was reading her magazines and that is why the magazines were arriving a couple days late. I thought to myself, oh sure, the bearded older mailman was reading Mom's "Good Housekeeping" magazine.

So my parent got a post office box where they transferred all their mail. Thus back then they were still driving they would daily go to the post office box. Mom was happy that the mailman wasn't delivering the mail. I just had to ask her, who do you think is putting the mail in the post office box?

Sense of humor goes a long way. My husband and I "sold pop" and then we returned the cans for the deposit so we could pay the bills. Another time we were trying to get her to take a shower (a favorite past time) but she didn't want to because she "had her period " at 80 years old. I'm sure there are many more, every day is different!

Very appropriate - thank you for sharing.

My Father just makes everything up as he goes along. He's always leaving care home. Any day now according to him. Has tried everything to convince me. Place getting knocked down. He's on a course and it's finished. Going to live with his Auntie who died 40 years ago. The money for the fees running out. Asked care worker to marry him and invited her to go and stay with him by giving her a written note. Hes 92 and shes 38. He had correct last address and phone number on it. Tries to get me to take his belongings. Running out of energy with it all. Take it most on this site are the same.

My mother has had Alzheimer's for 15 years now. She is 99 years old and lives with us. Three years ago I began writing books on caregiving to provide comic relief and also practical suggestions, understandings, and a chronicle to help me deal with this horrible disease. The books and stories have lots and lots of humor. One of my favorites is an incident when she first came to live with us and decided to get herself dressed in the middle of the night. She managed to find minimal articles of clothing to put on; but it didn't deter he. She emerged from her room announcing that she was ready for breakfast wearing nothing but a pair of socks!

As I'm reading through these, I'm remembering more....and it's better to remember the fun, humorous times than to remember how Mom looked when she passed away, etc - so I prefer to focus more on the laughter than the pain. (There's enough pain in my lifetime memories to last a few more lifetimes, so I try to find more humor if I can.)

Watching TV one night, we saw a commercial for a new TV show coming on, where a woman in her 30s/40s (but very young looking) decided she would masquerade as someone in their 20s in order to get a job she wanted. That meant hanging out with her new, younger, co-workers, including working out at the gym. In the locker room, after showering, she whipped off her towel to get dressed, just like the others did, and 2 of her young co-workers gasped out loud. One of them drops her eyes to the older woman's below-the-waist area and says in a horrified stage whisper, "OMG! It looks like my MOTHER'S!" and the other, equally horrified, says, "Don't you WAX???"

Mom looks right at me and says, with a straight face - "I think mine's gone bald."

Now keep in mind, Mom was *never* one to tell a dirty joke - that was Dad's department. She wasn't a prude by any means, but this was just SO FAR out in left field for her...I almost fell of my chair laughing.


Mom was really resistant to showering in her later years, even before I moved in to care for her. The house smelled terrible most of the time because of it. So when I moved in, I knew I had a battle on my hands. Most of the time, she'd comply if I got kind of stern with her about it (because being gentle about it just didn't work). When she had to move into the NH, I knew it was going to be a problem. They can't *force* her to shower, so she would go long stretches without one. I finally suggested they try getting her into the walk-in tub they had. Aha! That was the solution.

Once in the tub, Mom was like a little kid again, splashing and laughing and really enjoying a good long soak.

When I asked her how she liked it, she told me all about it and how much she enjoyed it and how long it had been since she'd been able to sit in a tub of warm water. Then she pointed at her chest and said, "They FLOAT!!"


Dad was in a nursing home for several months about 8 years before he actually passed away. He only had one functioning kidney, and it had failed, so he was on dialysis and also needed PT. (Miraculously, the kidney actually came back to life, something the doctors said they had *never* seen before.)

There was a woman there who we all said must have been a stripper or a prostitute in her former life or something. I mean, this woman was NASTY. Swore like a sailor, called people nasty names, spit food at you if you got within striking distance (or tried to get closer to you if you weren't close enough), hit people on a regular basis or tried to trip them or hit them with her rolling walker any chance she got.

She walked right into Dad's room one day and looked him up and down as he was sitting on the edge of the bed, and said, "You're FAT!" (And yes, Dad was a large man.)
He looked right back at her and said, "Yes, I am. But you're UGLY. I can go on a diet. What are you gonna do?"
She left. (LOL)

One afternoon, they were having music in the common room at the NH, and Dad was in there enjoying it. One of the male orderlies was entertaining the female residents, dancing with those who were able, or doing a small dance with those in wheelchairs and walkers. In strolled Miss Nasty, demanding a dance with the orderly. He didn't know her that well (poor guy), so he obliged. She stepped away from her walker and leaned right into him, and took a couple of turns around the floor - then she backed up and YELLED out loud - "YOU'VE GOT A BONER!" and just laughed and laughed. Poor guy turned 3 shades of red and told her that was the end of the dance.

Susansusan - your mother must be in the same memory care wing as my mother because these are the exact types of discussions we have. They (the aides) "really love my stuff.....instant coffee, muffins, potato chips, Babybel cheese, gingerale - oh....and, get this....HER COASTERS, etc., etc., etc.. Always find the coasters tucked in her drawers, sometimes under bras, underwear or some other garment. When I present them to her, the question is always, "where'd you find them? Someone else put them there..... Thank you for the ability to chuckle for a bit over this, which sometimes drives me to the brink of insanity. :-)

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