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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / Funny Stuff /   Editorial List

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 Funny Stuff

As the calendar pages flip from summer to fall and (hopefully) the heat lets up just a little, I am inclined to talk about something that many who are not family caregivers do not understand—caregiver humor. This refers to those situations which arise out of your caregiving that you cannot help but chuckle about. Especially as we enter the silly season of politics, a little humor may go a long way.

One of my favorite humorous stories about family caregiving came from a social worker named Claire who attended a recent Fearless Caregiver Conference. She told a story about her days as a trainee when she was working at a long-term care facility.   These were the days before Naomi Feil developed Validation Therapy, which encourages validating the beliefs of those living with mild dementia (as long as they are not harmful to themselves or others). In other words, respect their beliefs as opposed to arguing with them.

In this case, our intrepid social worker in training was told by her superior to approach a resident who would stand in the corner for hours talking with her husband Harry. The only problem was that Harry had passed away ten years earlier. The supervisor wanted Claire to make Mrs. Smith understand that Harry was not standing next to her.  Claire didn’t want to do it, but she approached Mrs. Smith and told her in no uncertain terms that Harry was indeed dead. Mrs. Smith nodded in acknowledgement and then turned to her right and stated, “You hear that Harry?  She says you’re dead!”

It also helps when your loved one has a sense of humor as well, as witnessed in this story from my friend, Arthur Cohen:

I remember when my dad was in his last days at home, it took three of us to help transfer him from his wheelchair to his hospital bed. What made it even more difficult was the catheter, which was always uncomfortable. We accidentally tugged on it and he screamed in pain, even with the morphine. We were mortified that we hurt him, and we were trying so hard to be gentle. There was silence.

My dad, sensing our pain, said in a very matter-of-fact way, "Do I need to have this catheter forever, or just while I'm still alive?"

It’s many years later and I'm still laughing...


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Gary Barg



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