Q. Dear Humor Coach,
My husband has Alzheimer’s. After 45 years with him, it is hard as he sometimes doesn’t know who I am. He gets embarrassed and it makes me quite sad. How could anything possibly be funny at times like these?
A. Dear Sheila,
I understand. It’s not funny at times like that. My mom began going through dementia while she was suffering from Pulmonary Fibrosis. One time, I walked into visit her and she didn’t recognize me. Then, when she did, she broke down and cried. I asked her how she wanted to handle that in the future. Should I walk in and say, “Hi Mom, it’s David,” so you’ll know who I am? She liked that idea. It was so important to help my mom keep her dignity.
Now, for the humor part. I have discovered in order for humor to work with someone, they have to know you. Here’s an example. Mom and I played gin rummy a lot. She always beat me. That same day she forgot who I was; she was really beating me in cards. After one game, she beat me. I looked at her and said, “Could you do me a favor and forgot how to play cards so I could beat you at least one hand?”
She looked up at me and I was smiling. It took a second for her to get my joke about being forgetful, but when she did, she smiled then reached over, squeezed my hand and said, “I love you, David.” That humor brought us closer. By the way, she continued to beat me.
Email your questions to David Naster at firstname.lastname@example.org and you may be featured in an upcoming issue! David is a local Humor Coach, Author and Speaker. David has been a professional comedian for over
40 years, and is an authority on the benefits of humor and laughter. His You Just Have To LAUGH (YJHTL) brand is appreciated all over the world, including numerous hospitals here in the Kansas City area. David’s approach is simple, “Humor and Laughing help us get through life’s toughest times.” Learn more at www.YJHTL.com.