“If your feet smell and your nose runs, you’re built upside down.” – words of wisdom from my dad.
My dad had a wonderful, twisted sense of humor. He enjoyed silly jokes and plays on words. If you were ever at the dinner table with him you shouldn’t ask him to pass you the rolls, unless you were prepared for flying rolls.
Honestly, the best part of the early days of Dad’s dementia was being able to tell him all of the gut-groaning jokes he told us all of our lives and watching him crack up because he’d never heard it before.
Towards the end of his life, Dad was bed-bound and generally responded only to physical stimulus. This didn’t mean that I didn’t talk to him, I did all the time. I would chat with him while I was in his room, telling him what I was doing, what food he was eating, making jokes, what was going on in the house, if we were expecting visitors and in general being quite the chatterbox.
At one point Dad developed a pressure sore on his backside and I was working with our Hospice nurse to get it healed. One day in particular our Hospice nurse had just brought out some new bandages for the sore, I walked into his room with my mom announcing to my dad: “Hey Dad! I’ve got some new butt bandages for you!” Then it happened, he giggled! The man under the illness with the twisted sense of humor came out, and it was wonderful. The things that were true to who he was, the core of Dad, was still there – just muted by a horrible disease. To this day the words butt bandages brings a smile to my face.
Finding the humor in the situation was vital to being able to provide care for both Dad and Grandpa, we could laugh together and the simple act of laughing would offer a bright spot in a situation that was otherwise emotionally draining.
A smile lifts the darkness and laughter brings out the sun.
I encourage all caregivers I meet to appreciate the humor when they see it, re-tell the old, goofy family jokes and stories. Laugh with your loved one, it will do you both a world of good!