Posts Tagged ‘humor’

Alzheimer’s and Humor: An Alzheimer’s Patient’s Funny Trick

Friday, October 24th, 2014

After finishing each meal at the Alois Center, Ed would always clean his spoon with a napkin, wrap it in another napkin, put it in the breast pocket of his sport coat and take it back to his room. He knew very well he shouldn’t be stealing those spoons.

Pretty soon his room would have spoons all over the place so the staff would go get them and return them to the kitchen. But sure enough, the next day he would start a new collection.

I often sat with him when he was eating and had observed this behavior many times.

Finally, one day when he started his cleaning ritual I said to him, “Don’t take that spoon, Ed. It doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to the facility.”

“Oh, no!” he said, loudly. “I take them every day with no remorse!”

We both had a good laugh about that.

The point of this story is that some people with Alzheimer’s can be playful sometimes. Also, they may make up their own activities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 Things People With Alzheimer’s Taught Me

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

I was a caregiver for Ed, my beloved Romanian life partner, for seven years when he had Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, I currently volunteer to make weekly visits to four women who live at Clare Bridge, a Brookdale Senior Living memory care facility in Overland Park, Kansas. (I refer to them as “my ladies.”) Here are the ten most important lessons these people have taught me.

  1. Simple pleasures can bring great joy to a person with Alzheimer’s
  1. People with Alzheimer’s usually enjoy getting gifts – no matter how small
  1. Pets, children, music and art may reach them on levels we cannot
  1. Just because they don’t talk doesn’t mean they aren’t perfectly aware of what’s going on around them and what people are saying to and about them
  1. There’s usually no reason to tell them someone is dead (Tell them a white lie instead – that the person will be back soon)
  1. Correcting them about something will probably either embarrass them or else start a big argument
  1. People with Alzheimer’s usually adjust to change more quickly than we do and they soon forget unpleasant things that happen to them. We may be the ones who continue suffering
  1. They can still enjoy life, even if only for brief periods of time
  1. People with Alzheimer’s may remember past love and also experience love in the present
  1. People with Alzheimer’s can be humorous at times – Then we can laugh with them.

 

People With Alzheimer’s Say the Darndest Things!

Sunday, January 12th, 2014

Alzheimer’s is a deadly serious illness and deservedly so. But sometimes laughter is the best medicine. My experience is that people with Alzheimer’s can say some pretty amusing things.

Many times the person is aware and even proud he or she has said something humorous. Then we laugh with the person – not at them.

These moments can be among the most precious we will ever have with our loved ones. Here are some examples:

My first stories are about one of the ladies with Alzheimer’s I volunteer to visit in a local memory care facility. I’ll call her Ruth. Ruth tells me the same story every time I visit her, except she sometimes includes new information or adds a twist to some part of the story.

She tells me that during World War II the Army used to bus young ladies to a base on Friday nights to dance with the soldiers. Ruth was one of those girls. She was a great dancer, unlike many of the men.

She tells me that most of them couldn’t dance and they just “stomped out a two-step.” When she tells me that she imitates them in a most humorous way, lively stomping her feet up and down.

Ruth also tells me that when the girls arrived at the base the men looked them up and down “like they were shopping.”

One of the bits of information she added the last time I saw her was that her husband was an especially bad dancer. “So bad,” she says, “he must have learned how to dance in a barn.”

But the most amusing event by far was when she offered me a cookie one day. I patted my ample tummy and asked, “Do I look like I need a cookie?” She said, “Oh, you’re just settling!”

I’ll share one more example – about one of my friends’ grandfather. (We’ll call him George.) It seems George was having a lot of trouble driving.

He was adamant that he’d never stop, and so his granddaughter, Sandra, disabled his car. He was, however, still alert enough to call a mechanic to come and repair it.

Sandra had assumed he’d do that so she had called his mechanic to ask him to give some excuse for not being able to fix the car.

When George contacted the mechanic the next day he was told “Your car needs some parts that are only available on the internet. It will take a long time.”

George then called his granddaughter and said, “Sandra, I have a job for you. Drive me to the internet!”

The Funniest Review I’ve Ever Received!

Saturday, November 3rd, 2012

The following review by Craig Thomas is the funniest one I’ve ever received: “Once I started, there was absolutely no way to stop reading this book until its final page. The house is a mess and I don’t care. Brava.”

Go to Amazon.com and type my name in the search box to read all 34 reviews of Come Back Early Today.

 

 

“Silly Saturdays:” A Crafty Grandfather – Contributed by Emily Mosher

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

My Grandpa was always a kind and eccentric man. He was also sneaky and liked to make accomplices of his grandchildren. He used to drop a big scoop of chocolate ice cream in our breakfast cereal, wink and walk off without a word. If Grandma saw us eating chocolate ice cream Cheerios, we’d tell her we didn’t put it in our bowls, but wouldn’t say who did (although she surely knew who it must have been).

In his early 80’s after his heart surgery, Grandpa was put on a strict diet, which was hard because he loved chocolate. He used to smooth talk us grandchildren into slipping him sweets. In his late 80’s, Grandpa would occasionally become confused about where he was, thinking he was in a field when he was sitting in his easy chair. He sometimes became confused while driving and we worried he would get lost one day or have an accident. The whole family argued with him that he shouldn’t drive anymore, but he refused to stop driving.

My uncle tried removing engine parts from Grandpa’s car, but Grandpa would get replacement parts. Fortunately, the car was more than 20 years old and soon broke down on its own. His mechanic, who by now knew that Grandpa shouldn’t be driving, told him that they didn’t have the part he needed in the store, that he would have to get the part from the internet. Later that evening, Grandpa called my cousin, Karen. He said, “I’ve got a job for you.” in his sneakiest most conspiratorial voice. “I need you to drive me to the internet.”

 

“Silly Saturdays” Post: An Alzheimer’s Tricky Thief

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

When Ed was living at the Alois Alzheimer Center he developed a most unusual habit. After each meal he would carefully clean his spoon with a napkin, wrap it in another napkin, put it in the breast pocket of his sport coat and take it to his room.

I tried many times to convince him not to do this.

In exasperation one day when I was visiting him with my sister, Freddie, I told him rather loudly, “Ed, don’t take that spoon. It doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to the facility.”

“Oh! No, Kitty,” he announced. “I take them every day with no remorse!”

Freddie and I immediately burst into laughter, which made him laugh, too.

 

 

Alzheimer’s and Humor: What If You Had a Fire in Your Kitchen?

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Alzheimer’s is such a deadly serious topic and deservedly so. But sometimes laughter is the best medicine. So I’ve decided to make a “Silly Saturdays” post every week with some sort of amusing story about Ed when he was demented. Here’s the first one. I hope you enjoy it. Please send me your own “silly” stories and I’ll post them, too.

What if You Had a Fire in Your Kitchen?

Ed answered the knock on his door and found a pretty young lady in her mid 20s standing there. He smiled and gestured for her to enter. “Hello there! Oh, I’m so excited to see you again. How have you been? Come ‘een’! Come ‘een’!” he bid her.

Only thing was, Ed had never seen her before. That alone pretty much fulfilled the purpose of her visit. Kristi, Director of Admissions at the Alois Center, was there to evaluate Ed for placement. I’d warned her I couldn’t promise he’d even allow her in, let alone talk with her, so I was immensely relieved he was agreeable that day. Ed was oblivious to the real reason I’d arranged this interview. I told him she was a friend of mine who worked in a nursing home and she wanted to practice interviewing elderly people. It was only because of his dementia that I had to do it and it was only because of his dementia that I could get away with it.

Ed and his apartment were reasonably presentable that afternoon. He sat in his recliner, which served as the centerpiece of the living room from which he watched his precious political talk shows. Kristi, her white summer dress flecked with little green flowers matching the freshness of the sunny and breezy late August day, took a seat on the sofa near his chair. Not wanting to interfere, I sat at the far end of the sofa, planning to just observe.

She explained the real reason she was there. He didn’t seem to understand, but he was in an excellent mood and readily agreed to talk with her. I assumed it was mostly because she was so young and pretty. He loved all young and pretty women.

Kristi consulted the paper that was attached to a manila folder with a large paper clip, turned her body directly toward Ed, and began asking the usual questions, enunciating each word clearly and loudly.

“Can you tell me who’s the President?”

“Boosh,” he blurted out, grinning.

“Can you tell me what date it is today?”

He thought for a few seconds, then his head began to slowly shift downward as he simultaneously turned his left wrist inward a little.

Well, I’d be damned! His mind isn’t totally gone. He’s alert enough to remember his little Timex has the date on it.

That gave me some comfort. He stated the correct date and we all laughed about his cleverness.

Kristi continued with many more questions. Some he was able to answer. Most he couldn’t.

Kristi then asked the last question: “What would you do if you had a fire in your kitchen?”

He thought for a minute then a sly grin slowly appeared on his face. He stretched out his arm, pointed to me with his shaky finger and proudly announced, “I’d call her.”

Kristi and I laughed, which made Ed laugh, too.

 

 

“Silly Saturdays” Story: Bring Me Vodka!

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Alzheimer’s is a deadly serious topic, but sometimes laughter is the best medicine. So I’m posting  a humorous story weekly, giving us a chance to smile in the midst of our somber life situation. Please send me your own “silly” stories and I’ll post them, too.

As I was walking with Ed to the front door of the Alois Center on my way out the third day he lived there he sweetly said, “Kitty, please. Bring me two bottles of Popov tomorrow.”

“Kitty, I can’t,” I said. “You’re not allowed to have vodka here.”

“What do you mean, I’m not allowed vodka to have?” he asked incredulously. He stopped walking and stared at me. “This is America! I’m allowed anything I want to have!”

“I’m sorry, Ed,” I said. “I can’t bring you any. That’s the rule here.”

He became upset and told me, “Fine. I will find someone else to get it for me.”

I had no idea how he’d find anyone to buy it for him, but despite his dementia he tricked me into helping.

A few hours later he called and cheerfully asked me the address of “this place where I am ‘leev-ing.’” I was pleased. I thought it was a good sign that he wanted to be oriented and know where he was.

I told him the address and he repeated it one letter and number at a time, leading me to think he was writing it down, which I also thought was a good thing.

The minute I hung up I got it.

Oh, shit! He’s going to call his driver to take him to Kroger’s to buy vodka.

I dialed his driver’s cell as fast as my fingers would move and explained the situation. The driver, Mr. Ellington, promised to tell Ed his cab had broken down and it would take him a few days to get there.

I must admit, however, I was pleased Ed was still alert enough to try this ruse. I checked with Mr. Ellington later that evening and laughed out loud when I found out Ed had indeed called him!

Silly Saturdays Guest Post by Carole Larkin: “I’m a Lot Younger than These Old People around Here!”

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

For a little walk on the light side of Alzhiemer’s, I’m posting amusing stories about dementia patients every Saturday. Here’s this week’s story by Carole Larkin:

 

 

Pretty early on my mom’s frontal lobe was impacted and she lost the filter we all have that prevents us from saying what we are thinking. When she was at the assisted living community in Dallas and I’d visit her (2-3 times a week), every time she would introduce me to her friends as if  this was the first time they were meeting me. Some of her friends were not cognitively impaired, so they and I played along.  She would tell them all my name, that I was
born on Christmas day (which was true!) and how old I was. It was always in that order; it never varied.

Early on I had tried to have my mother  just tell people that I was her daughter, and that I was born on Christmas day, but to leave off how old I was. She readily agreed, but when I was introduced she automatically went on to tell them all three things. Realizing that I was stuck  with the telling of my age to all the people she knew, and all the people she didn’t know in the world, I had to say something to get her off the subject of my age.

I came up with, “but Mom, I’m still really young!”

Mom would look at me with surprise and say “No you’re not”.

Then I’d say, “Well I am when I hang around with 80 and 90 year olds!”

Then all of us would laugh. That was our routine.

Then one day, after I finished saying “Well I am when I hang around with 80 and 90 year olds!” Mom said, “Me too. I’m a lot younger than all these old people around here!”

She was 84 at the time. I laughed and laughed at that comment. And eventually she and all her friends were laughing with me. That was a great memory I’ll always carry of my mom.

Carole Larkin  MAG, CMC, CAEd, QDCS, EICS is a geriatric care manager who specializes in helping families with Alzheimer’s and related dementias issues. She also trains caregivers in home care companies, assisted livings, memory care communities, and nursing homes in dementia specific techniques for best care of dementia sufferers. Her company, ThirdAge Services LLC, serves the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex. She can be reached at 214-649-1392 or carole_larkin@tx.rr.com.

 

 

 

“SILLY SATURDAYS:” ENOUGH!!

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Alzheimer’s is a deadly serious topic, but sometimes laughter is the best medicine. So I’ll make a “Silly Saturdays” post weekly with some amusing story about Ed, giving us a chance to smile in the midst of our somber life situation. Please send me your own “silly” stories and I’ll post them, too. Here’s this Saturday’s story:

“Bingo!” a woman hollered in a shrill voice.

I peeked into the activity room and saw Ed smiling, sitting on the far side of the long craft table. He looked like he was having a grand time. I didn’t want to interfere with his fun so I pulled up a chair and sat down beside him. Martha, a tiny, sweet-looking aide, spun the cage, picked up the ball, and called out the combination.

“B-6!”

Ed looked at his card intently then sang out sweetly, “Here ‘tis!” and covered the proper square with a red plastic marker. Quite frankly, I was surprised he was competent enough to play by himself. Martha had seated Lucy and Sylvia on either side of her, so she could lean over and help look for the numbers on their cards. Betty, at least ninety and almost as underweight as Ed, sat undisturbed amidst the players.

The game continued and each time Ed had the number he called out melodically with glee, “Here ‘tis.” I found it amusing and had to suppress a laugh. Martha seemed to find it funny, too, and looked in Ed’s direction, a smile on her face every time he voiced his little refrain.

Sylvia yelled something, in what I would later find out was Portuguese, in a disgruntled tone of voice every time she didn’t have the number. I could tell Ed was getting annoyed with her.

Finally, I guess he decided he’d had enough of her grouchiness because he said so loudly that it was embarrassing, “I just have one word to say!”

“What is it, Ed?” Martha inquired, a concerned look on her face.

He pointed his shaky finger at Sylvia and shouted, “ENOUGH!”

He was right. He did have just one word to say. Again, I had to control myself to keep from laughing, and it looked like Martha was stifling a laugh as well.