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    gotta laugh- for caregivers...
    Anon_30608 posted:
    I am my moms caregiver and wanted to share one of my moms many "gotta laugh" moments...firstly my mom loves washing dishes and cleaning ..I dont know its repetative and she does a great job so she feels like its one thing she can do for others at family functions and its something she still remembers how to do with that said she came to a family cook out we had recently and there she goes right for dishes and i welcome it as i hate doing them but for one mishap , she found the kitty scoop for litter bx on the floor which must of been kicked out of place which usually has its spot hidden ....she washed it along with all my clean dishes and then procedes to place it in the macaroni salad for pple to use to help themselves! yep , luckily couple hrs later i noticed the handle and said OMG no way! took the whole thing and tossed it ....and thankfully only a couple scoops were taken being the 3rd tray put out and those scoops were on a take home tray for my great aunt....which i disgarded as well....ya "gotta laugh" at some of the things pple do with this disease ...even though it was a clean scoop spoon, im glad noone ate from it.
    cjh1203 responded:
    Oh, my gosh! As you say, at least the scoop was clean! What a cruel fate for perfectly good macaroni salad, though.

    There definitely are funny moments with Alzheimer's and, horrible as the disease is, seeing the humor that occasionally comes from it is a good thing.

    When my uncle, who had Alzheimer's, was still alive, there were always things we could laugh about. It was definitely a relief to have some light-hearted times.

    One of his funny quirks was that he couldn't stand having lights on in the house, except the ones he needed so, for instance, if my aunt was washing dishes and had the light on in the kitchen, he would yell at her to turn out the light, and she'd have to finish the dishes in the dark. It was just constant -- she'd turn on a light, and he'd yell, "Are you going to turn off that light?"

    When he was in the hospital, dying, after a stroke, the nurses had turned on the light over his bed and one of the last things he said to my aunt was, "Are you going to turn off that light?" Even though it was a terribly sad time, it made us all laugh.

    Judith L London, PhD responded:
    Hi Anon_30608,

    You are so right! Sometimes, you just have to laugh, as you will see when my new book, "Support for Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers: The Unsung Heroes," comes out in the Fall, I hope.

    A sense of humor is a great way to cope with some of those unexpected moments.

    2010guardian replied to Judith L London, PhD's response:
    When I tell a story about Ken, people laugh. I think it is bitter sweet. I can see the humor in it.

    When I was away, I called him on the phone and he didn't answer. So I drove to my next destination and called again, then he answered. The next day I was sitting in my chair dozing. He kept trying to tell me something about the TV remote. I said, "I just don't understand what you are trying to tell me." He had the remote in his hand and said, "There is no way anyplace in this house that you can answer this. I just kept saying 'hello' and pushing buttons, then I turned it over and looked at the back and I couldn't answer it." I said, "Well, your're right!"
    I used to journal, but I don't think I want to write down all these things that happen. It may be funny to someone else, but very sad to me.

    healus88 replied to 2010guardian's response:
    tried to post reply before and was error so i hope you dont have to read this post twice...but thank you everyone for reading and sharing too makes me feel like im not alone as a caregiver...yes alzheimers is a sad disease...when i look at my mom and think about how hard it must be for her and how one day she may not know who i am let alone who she is , makes me cry. i try to think of when i was her little girl and how she loved me so.....and the good memories noone can take away...sometimes i get so angry or upset with her but i take a moment and breath and tell myself its this digusting , wretched , unforgiving and terrifying disease that she has and i have to be understanding twd her...she must be hurting inside too not being able to say or do anything she use to do....i try to laugh and be strong....and realize growing up strong minded and strong person with the experiences ive had must of been in preparation for this task of caregiver....i have a compassionate heart for pple and animals that i thank god for everyday....some pple have person can make a difference in a life of another or a living thing and if the world goes on without notice , i know what my life was worth and what ive done to make someones world a better place. we have to share the laughter and tears and i am learing one day at a time about this disease and im so thankful for this site where we can talk and share without judgement....or ridicule some pple i have found do not understand alzheimers disease and make jokes that its not so bad or seriouse but it is indeed...there should b so much more research and help with this disease...i hope the future holds some answers.
    healus88 replied to healus88's response:
    PS just wanted to say that the upsetting thing is my mom is a heavy smoker and eats all the wrong foods even though i give her all the healthy ones.... i try to put her on all the right vitamins and meds so that she can get better and its like she is taking 10 giant steps backward ...i wanted us to do excercise like yoga or walking or etc but alls she does is complain...she complains alot ...she doesnt want to do i tried giving her money or take her out and treat her to good things but she is sneaky and lies so it doesnt can i get her to want to do healthy things? any advice?
    cjh1203 replied to healus88's response:
    Hello Healus-

    Do you think your mom realizes that something is wrong with her? I think that must be the hardest stage of Alzheimer's, when the patient knows that her brain is failing her. In some ways, it must be easier when that awareness is gone.

    Don't feel guilty about being impatient with your mom now and then. You're under a lot of stress, and it's to be expected that your patience wear thin occasionally. As you say, you just have to stop, take a deep breath, and realize that she's not being willfully difficult.

    You seem to have a great attitude about everything, and I'm sure it will help you a lot as you go through this.

    I don't know if I have any good advice for you about you mom's smoking and eating habits, but my uncle was just the same. He would gladly have eaten nothing but sweets, and he chain-smoked. My aunt use sweets to bribe him to eat other things. She'd make him a somewhat healthy meal and tell him if he finished it, he could have a piece of cake (or whatever) for dessert. It seemed to work pretty well for them, but don't know if it would for you mother. Maybe it would be good to make an appointment with a nutritionist.

    You may already know this but, if not, it might help explain why your mom doesn't want to eat better. Alzheimer's patients often lose a lot of their sense of taste, so most food other than sweet -- and, perhaps salty -- just doesn't taste that good.

    Exercise is a really tough one -- it's something my aunt never had any luck getting my uncle to do. He absolutely refused to do anything more than walk to and from the car. Does she like to dance? Maybe the two of you could just dance around the house every now and then.

    The smoking is also very difficult, I know. What probably won't work is trying to explain why she needs to stop, or pleading with her to stop, or trying to reason with her in any way. What finally got my uncle to stop was when his doctor put him on the patch and told him if he ever had another cigarette he would end up in the hospital. He never had another cigarette after that, after smoking for close to 60 years.

    The bottom line, though, is that you may not be able to get her to do things she doesn't want to do. Her mind works a lot like a child's, so explaining why she should do those things just doesn't get through. Again, I can only go by the experiences we had with my uncle, but telling him to do something always worked better than asking, or giving a choice, or explaining. That's not to say it always worked, but it was more reliably effective than anything else. Given a choice, an Alzheimer's patient is probably not going to choose the thing that's best for him/her so, unless it's something minor, it's probably best not to give her a choice at all.

    I don't know if any of this is helpful -- caring for an Alzheimer's patient is an awful lot of trial and error.

    We're glad you're here, and hope you'll continue to keep us posted.

    healus88 replied to cjh1203's response:
    thanks for reading and reply cjh....i just posted about losing my cool....please read if you can ....caregiving is hard enough but i posted about recent issues and could use getting angry cause of other pple getting involved cause my mom is running to them for every lilttle thing....yep like a 2 yr old it seems....its making my life alot harder than it should be.
    smilebug responded:
    Yes, they do the darnest things. My mom passed almost two years ago this November. I am still sharing some of the funny things that she did. The one that really get me is: When I would take a shower during the day I would always make sure that my mom room door was lock so that she would not wonder out of the house, or let strangers in(which she did one time), this particuliar day, when I came out of the bathroom I heard my poor mom standing at the window saying "Help, somebody Help me, it's me annie Pearl". I still laugh because when I went in her room she was standing there waiting for someone to let her out of that room, or at leat out the window. Today I still laugh when I think of that time. So keep laughing.
    realtor32 replied to healus88's response:
    I am a caregiver along with my 85 yr old mother for my 87 yr old father. Are the people that your mom runs to family or friends? The only reason I ask is that there may come a day when you welcome others support and help. I stay with them 24 hours a day 7 days a week for the past 3 years and when others come to help and give me or my mom a break we welcome it. My dad used to burn his cloths, follow my mom everywhere in the house she went including to the bathroom. He fell over 20-30 times every time one of us was no further than 10 feet away. There are 100's of things I could mention but I would have to write a very long , very sad book. He has had Hospice 2 times in the last 2 years after we tried the retirement homes only to realize that if he was going to have any quality of life it would have to be at home because Alzheimer patients do better when at home with familiar surroundings.The bad part is that it's very hard on the Caregivers. If you have others willing to help I personally would gladly accept it as needed. I thought after many things that I had gone through in my life I could handle it much better than I have. When the man I have always looked up to as my hero and a family man that could not have been any better of a role model changed into a man that only looks the same as he did a couple of years ago. I have found that talking to him about things from 20- 40 years ago give us something to talk about because trying to talk about anything in the last several years he doesnt remember. The best way I deal with all the things he says that make no since at the time is to just GO WITH IT . In other words agree to whatever he thinks he see's or whoever he thinks is in the room talking to ( Usually its his mom that passed away 25 years ago or a former coworker from 30 years ago) or talk about old cars. That helps me deal with it and keeps him content and happy for short periods.The one person that I hate having to go through this the most is my mother, she is 85 but does more than most 40 yr olds I know but it has starting taking a toll on her. She knows her health would be better if dad was at a retirement home that would take care of dad like we do at home but the sad truth is they dont have enough staff to watch over him 24/7. I live 300 miles away from my parents and have only spent 3 months at my home out of the last 3 years so I really understand how hard the caregiver job is. I know my dad would do the same for me so I have no regrets, just a lot of stress. I wish you and everyone else in our situation the best dealing with this situation. This has made me think about so many things in life that I took for granted so something good can come from this. God Bless!
    cjh1203 replied to realtor32's response:
    Hi realtor32.

    The situation with your dad sounds really sad. It's awful to see someone you've loved your whole life gradually disappear. The fact that Alzheimer's patients retain old memories for so long is a real blessing, though. My uncle used to love to talk about the past, and it was always amazing that he could remember names and places that nobody else could come up with.

    I just wanted to address one thing you said in your post, regarding Alzheimer's patients being better off in their own homes. I had always thought that, too, but I talked to an Alzheimer's case manager who said that's not usually the case. She said that the transition can be difficult but that patients usually flourish in a memory-care facility. They are with people like them, taking part in whatever activities might interest them, and given expert care by people who have a lot of experience dealing with dementia patients. They often end up very happy in a new place. Dave, one of our regular posters, has found that to be the case with his father.

    I bring that up because it sounds like it might be a good option for you and your mother to consider. You're right that your mother's health has to be a big consideration in whatever you do.

    I hope you'll continue to post her, and let us know how things are going.

    Take care-

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