My dad had a philosophy about the value of fun in daily life that he reminded me of every time I got too serious; and as Alzheimer’s stole his ability to speak, it developed into one of his go-to phrases that he could spit out no matter what: Are you having fun?
And about a year ago, just Having fun? He would ask me this every single time we spoke.
Now, my dad cannot even say those two words, but they still stick with me.
It’s true. There’s nothing fun about dementia. Your loved one’s brain is literally dying and key synapses, or connections, that are lost are making it hard for normal tasks to be completed and normal interactions or conversations to take place.
But if we don’t allow for laughter, then we are just letting the disease take us down with it!
As a caregiver or part of the care team, you likely carry enough guilt to last a lifetime. Don’t let laughter or joy feel guilty! Smiling and laughing is good for your health, and it can make your time with your loved one better, too.
I think you should laugh…even when it feels a little wrong. I’m going to encourage it, and here’s why. Humor:
- Increases memory facts by 250%
- Decreases defensiveness and tension
- Creates a positive way to approach touchy subjects
- Breaks down power struggles
- Exercises your left brain so you are more creative
Children laugh about 400 times per day. Adults? About 15. That’s terrible! And I’m going to bet it is even lower for someone providing unpaid care.
Need something to get started? Here are 10 minutes of happiness.