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Day 4: Facing Daily Challenges

Posted Oct 29 2010 12:00am
One of the most difficult things to cope with when a loved one has alzheimer's is the overwhelming sense that your family member is dying a very slow, torturous death.  Someone once said that its like attending the same funeral day after day.  Every once in a while the grief and sadness becomes overbearing, and a light hearted moment can release tension.

In talking with friends who have experience with alzheimer's, many agree that having a sense of humor can be a just what the doctor ordered.  Laughing about the things you forget helps you to lower your expectations and may provide temporary relief.  Scientistic studies illustrate the positive effects on your health with the positive release of hormones that stimulate happiness.

My father in law had a recent visit by my father.  After the visit, my father in law told my husband that my dad had thankfully become a lot nicer over the years!  They had a wonderful visit together, not having seen each other for many years.  My father in law always saw my dad as too taken with a lot of that "religious crap" and I don't know that my father cared for the harsh language that my father in law sometimes spoke.  Neither found the other particularly engaging.

Now that my father in law's alzheimer's has progressed to the point where he needs to be reminded of who people, he enjoys spending time with more people.  It's like he is meeting new people every day and finding wonderful new things about them.  Of course, not every day is this positive but this example of the visit with my dad made many of us laugh about how my father is much more accommodating.

Always the gregarious, playful man of humor and daily jokes, my father in law has mellowed significantly and is often very sad when he realizes his circumstance.  He frequently cries.  Now, here are two men that didn't really get along very well before enjoying each other's company and praying together!  My sister in law was in disbelief and laughed harder than my husband at hearing about the visit.  This laughter was good to hear because my sister in law stresses every day and is a critical caregiver to her father.

If we look, there are silver linings to be found.
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