Well, that little bluebird doesn’t look to happy, now does he?
No one can expend their energy, strength, and time giving to someone else, especially in the demanding role of family caregiver, without replenishing their own reserves. Something has to give, or we can end up looking as grumpy as Mr. Bluebird!
But, as grumpy as the bluebird looks, he also made me laugh out loud. And that, is what I wanted to take away from this image – finding humor in the everyday. Now, I can’t say that I have always found the humor in the everyday. When I found that I was on my third time caregiving for a family member; it was, at times, difficult to find even a speck of humor. But, to see the truth in laughter is important.
Let me share a story of how one client found a way to weave some humor into his day with a little fib.
I was working with a husband in getting himself and his wife with dementia to feel more comfortable with respite care. I suggested that he stay home when the respite care worker came the first 2 times, making it seem like a social visit with “Ann”. Then, after those first few social visits, he slipped in a “fib” and stated that he had an appointment and “Ann” was here to keep his wife company. As his wife became more comfortable with “Ann”, he made a show of going out the front door with car keys and lunch. His performance of “heading off to work” was his own way of finding humor in his everyday. His wife still recognized “work mode” so they both felt more comfortable with this exit strategy.
When he “went to work”, he could have coffee or lunch with a friend, take a walk, or even go to his own doctor’s appointments. He even “went to work” on several occasions, to only sneak back into the house quietly and unobserved by his wife, and would go into a back room to take care of the bills, take a nap, or finish that chapter in a book. Ann, being wise to this was able to keep his wife comforted and distracted so he could take advantage of some uninterrupted time.
While some may view this performance of ” heading off to work” as a deception, we call this “Therapeutic Fibbing”!
His wife was safe and cared for and he got the time out he needed. He found a way to weave a more subtle form of humor into his everyday. Humor doesn’t have to make one giddy with laughter.
No one will ever do “caregiving” exactly like you, but other helpers give your loved one some variety, socialization and often can provide tips that can create a bit of ease for you both.
Hints Towards Finding Time Out for Caregivers:
Use these search words to find respite, meals and even a volunteer Friendly Visitor program in your area and county. Some are free, and some are low fee based.
Health/Disability Related Support Groups programs
Family Based Services programs
Ask about out what services volunteer programs provide for relieving a caregiver, companion programs, Support Group Assistance, etc.
TCA BLOG is here to help you, the caregiver, to learn how to unwind and make time and space for self-care. Oh, and we are here to help you find the humor in the everyday.