When I was thinking about this title it occurred to me it might be misleading in some way. However, I’ll give it a try!
Humor: A funny or amusing quality
Why would I want to talk about humor? Because it’s a way to lighten up the day.
Maybe while visiting a loved one with dementia you encountered a rough spot with him/her. Maybe your loved one has had a challenging morning/day and they don’t necessarily want to be sociable. What do you do? Some of you might become frustrated and a little angered, others might decide to leave and come back another time or day.
What I found to work for me dealing with my mother was using humor with her. Even if she wasn’t as sociable as I would have liked her to be I still tried the humor approach before I did anything else. Most of the time it worked. It wasn’t always easy to come up with something to make her smile much less make her laugh. Once I got her smiling I knew I “had” her and kept it going. It’s sort of like trying to be a standup comedian; you just keep rolling with the dialog and feed off the response you get from your audience.
Using humor with my mother not only lightened up a stressful moment but it helped me as well. Seeing her become happy and laughing certainly helped my frame of mind too.
You might wonder what do I talk about that is going to be humorous? Well, just about anything really. For me, I talked about my daughters and their children. Mother enjoyed hearing about the kids and the great grandchildren; that always brought a smile to her face. I would tell her stories my girls related to me about their kids and then I would pass it along to her with a whole lot of embellishment and animation. Using a lot of expression while telling the stories gave her a mirror image and before I knew it she was being expressive in her responses.
The little time it took to tell a fun story was worth the amount of time I had with her smiling and being in a good frame of mind. So talk about your pets and the funny things they do, or talk about something funny you heard from a friend or saw on t.v. It really doesn’t matter just as long as you try and do it.
“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere.” Dr. Seuss
The old saying, “laughter is the best medicine” still rings true even if you’re using it with a person with memory problems. Everyone enjoys laughing; laughing releases endorphins which is good for everyone!
The next time you visit a loved one with dementia try out the humor approach and see what happens. I’m pretty sure it will put a smile on you and them!
It’s the little things that really matter.