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!”