The benefits of humor in caregiving

A few weeks ago, I was inspired by a simple exchange between two residents while doing rounds in one of our Campus buildings. I heard laughter and jeering between two ladies as I walked past the cozy area where they were sitting. They saw me and quickly motioned me over: “Can you help us? We have a score to settle!” They were amid a friendly challenge about which one of them is taller!  I had them stand back to back, and while I compared their height, they continued to poke jabs at one another, betting that the other person was shorter! The ladies were so full of laughter and fun, engrossed in chatter together and commiserating about the unwelcome physical changes that aging brings. It was such a nice moment, I had to take a photo to send to their families!  As soon as I took the photo, they both reminded me to be sure and give them a copy because “if not, we won’t remember who won the challenge!” They both laughed again as they walked away to join an activity. There is no shortage of moments like this inspire us at KP. It reminded me of the power of positive relationships and how humor can shift our perspective, especially when our residents and families face such challenging circumstances.

Aging surely has its humorous moments though undoubtedly, devastating diseases such as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s are no laughing matters. But even in the middle of the worst of situations, there remains opportunity for laughter.  In fact, these are the times when humor is needed most.  Being dealt a life-changing diagnosis can create anger and stress but emoting negatively won’t make anyone’s life more pleasant. Laughter is such an effective way of coping with the difficult emotions that come with caregiving and aging.

The two ladies that I encountered found a connection with one another and humor uplifted all of us in that moment. In truth, part of being a wonderful caregiver is to let yourself laugh and to encourage your loved one to laugh, too. Continue to strive for those moments!

For additional information call Kim at 301-946-7700 or email her at kcariahbutler@kensingtonsl.com

 

Kimkitta Cariah-Butler
Director of Family Services

 

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