Laura S asks: My mother has dementia and she doesn’t make much sense anymore. She get anxious and starts fixating on things or gets agitated but sometimes she just says the most off the wall things and I really want to laugh. Is it okay to laugh at my mom’s confusion?
This answer is completely based on personal experience, we feel that there are probably arguments for both sides. We believe that yes, it is okay to laugh. It is extremely difficult and draining to watch someone you love suffer from dementia. When your mom is anxious or frustrated and you’re doing your best to help, but nothing works, you may feel defeated. When she doesn’t remember your children’s names or thinks you’re still a small child, you may feel defeated. When she doesn’t remember how to properly use the toilet or how to dress herself, you may feel defeated. When she says something off the wall in a moment of tension, laugh. Laugh because you need to, she needs you to.
Of course, there is a difference between laughing at her struggle and laughing at something silly she says but you are not laughing at her struggle, you are just releasing energy. If you stop laughing once your parent gets sick, you too will end up sick in one way or another. She may even start laughing once she sees you laughing and it may be a laugh you haven’t heard in a long time. Dementia is scary and relentless, take the time to laugh with your mother. Those are the memories you want to make. She may not recognize you or know what day of the week it is, but she will see your smile and be comforted for those few moments.
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*All information is meant as advice based on personal experience and should not be referred to as medical data.
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