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Humor in Caregiving Eases Tension and Boosts Mood

Caregiver humor is an effective way for seniors and caregivers to cope with the difficult emotions that come with aging and caregiving

Funny moments can happen during caregiving

Chronic illnesses and serious diseases like Alzheimer’s disease are certainly no laughing matter.

But even in the middle of the worst day, there’s still room for laughter. And funny moments can naturally come up while you’re caring for an older adult.

Giving yourself permission to notice when funny things happen and encouraging your older adult to do the same eases tension and makes life more positive for both of you.

We explain why caregiver humor is helpful to both of you and why you shouldn’t feel guilty about laughing. We also share funny stories from real caregivers and older adults.


Improve quality of life by lightening the mood

The world doesn’t have to constantly be dark, gray, and depressing even if you’re caring for an older adult with dementia or if their health is declining.

It might sound counter-intuitive, 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.

Trying to see the funny or positive side of things whenever possible lightens the mood and improves overall well-being.

Laughter helps people 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 isn’t mean or disrespectful

One reason why caregivers might resist looking for humor is that they worry that they’ll seem mean or disrespectful.

In reality, 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 about. You’re laughing at a funny, ridiculous, or ironic situation that you can both find humorous.

Best of all are the times when your older adult is the first to make a joke or when they laugh even harder than you do.

Real stories illustrate caregiver humor

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

Here are three stories we really enjoyed:

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!
“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!”

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By DailyCaring Editorial Team

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