Why It’s Good to Find Humor in Caregiving

find humor in caregiving

Caregiving has its funny moments

Funny moments can happen while you’re caring for an older adult. Of course, chronic illnesses and devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s are certainly no laughing matter. But even in the middle of the worst day, there’s still room for laughter.

We explain why it’s helpful for both you and your older adult to find humor in caregiving, why you shouldn’t feel guilty about it, and share stories from real caregivers.




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Life doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom

The world doesn’t always have to be dark, gray, and depressing even if you’re caring for an older adult in declining health. It might sound counterintuitive, but these are the times when a dose of humor is most needed.

Besides, being angry, miserable, and tense won’t change a bad situation or make anyone’s life more pleasant. So why not try to look at the funny or positive side of things whenever possible?

 

Laughter helps cope with difficult emotions

It turns out that humor is a very effective way of coping with the difficult emotions that come with caregiving and aging.

In a research study, over 75% of recurrent cancer patients and those facing terminal illness said that maintaining a sense of humor was very important. It was right up there with being pain-free. That’s a pretty big endorsement.

 

Humor doesn’t have to be mean or disrespectful

A common reason why caregivers resist looking for humor is that they feel guilty about seeming mean or disrespectful. In truth, part of being a wonderful caregiver is to let yourself laugh and to encourage your older adult to laugh too.

After all, you’re not laughing at the person you love and care for. You’re laughing at a funny, ridiculous, or ironic situation. Best of all are the times when your older adult laughs even harder than you do.

 

Here are some funny caregiving stories

We found some funny stories from caregivers that show what we mean about finding the humor in caregiving.

Here are two we really liked:

Something cute. I came home yesterday from work and Mom came out to the kitchen to greet me. I said, “Mom, you have on my sweat pants!” We each have a pair of soft, comfy pea green sweats. Hers are a size 14 and mine are a few sizes bigger! She says, “I thought I had lost a lot of weight!” Then she pulls up her shirt to show me she had them pinned to her bra to keep them up! We had a good laugh!

I was kneeling beside Mom’s bed last night when 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.” Instead of …my soul to take. I said “what?” Mom laughed and said, “well, I couldn’t remember the rest and …well, it rhymed” ! ~ Amen!

See more funny caregiving stories 

 

Bottom line

Nobody will feel like laughing all the time. But giving yourself permission to notice when funny things do happen and encouraging your older adult to do the same eases tension and makes life more positive for both you.

 

Next Step  Caregiver Peter Rosenberger and comedian Jeff Foxworthy talk about the funny side of caregiving

 

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Speech Matters


7 Comments

  • Reply June 20, 2017

    Gwenn

    I printed out about 30 Laffy taffy jokes which are corny riddles that my Dad enjoys and sometimes gets him to laugh!

    • Reply June 20, 2017

      DailyCaring.com

      That’s wonderful!! I’m sure he appreciates the humor 🙂

  • Reply October 30, 2016

    Marathon John D Gaffney

    I can t see any humor in being a caregiver;it s an unappreciated job that comes with a lot of stress;b******t;aggravation & hurtful feelings watching someone U love slowly die of a deadly disease;Ijust wish there s a cure to fight ALZ;ALS & ALL diseases

    • Reply October 30, 2016

      DailyCaring

      It can be tough to find the humor when you’re feeling burned out and unappreciated. Alzheimer’s is certainly a terrible disease — both for the person who has it and for the caregiver. Do your best to get some time off. That could help restore your sense of humor. If family, friends, or volunteers aren’t available to help, here is some info on finding respite care — http://dailycaring.com/local-respite-care-services-give-caregivers-a-break/

      Another great way to get regular breaks is to enroll your older adult into an Adult Day Program. It may take them some time to adjust, but after a little while, most seniors enjoy the interaction and engagement they experience in these programs. More info here — http://dailycaring.com/adult-day-services-help-seniors-live-at-home-longer/

  • Reply February 21, 2016

    Judith Henry

    Great to see more articles that encourage humor as a coping tool for caregivers. Humor is a very large part of my talks and book, “The Dutiful Daughter’s Guide to Caregiving,” a road map and memoir about loving and caring for elderly parents. I believe that when we’re laughing , our hearts and our minds are more open to taking in and retaining difficult information.

    • Reply February 21, 2016

      Connie Chow

      Thank you Judith! We fully support your approach to caregiving and are enjoying reading your book 🙂

      • Reply February 29, 2016

        Judith Henry

        So glad you’re enjoying it, Connie. Thanks for your purchase!

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