Somehow in the midst of caring for three elderly members of the same family, Denny and Judy have been able to find the endearing and funny moments in their difficult lives. They have been caring for Denny’s mother, Eileen, for four years in their own home, but they also cared for Eileen’s two siblings who are now deceased. They are very isolated as they have to plan everything around Eileen’s schedule, and she sleeps the majority of the day. They also operate their own business from their home, which eases the boredom but also contributes to the isolation. Their meals out of the house are typically at Burger King since that’s the easiest. There is just no way to plan anything, socialize, or have people over.
Denny exclaims, “It’s similar to house arrest!” They try to focus on the few and far between humorous situations. They even write down all of the funny and endearing comments and pull them out when they need a laugh. For example, Eileen’s sister, for whom they also cared, once said to Judy, “You are my bestest somebody!” Another charming statement was “Life is wonderful some of the time – but not too often.”
Denny says his wife has been incredible at caring for all of them, but they are his family, and he feels guilty because she didn’t sign up for this. All three of the family members have suffered from depression, and one had the added burden of dementia.
One thing that has helped tremendously is the dog, Gracie. The exercise of walking the dog is a great stress reliever for them, and Eileen greatly enjoys the dog too. Research shows that animals can be a huge source of comfort.
At times they get discouraged and feel they’ve had enough. While they were caring for his mother’s other two siblings, they constantly received calls from the homes they were in because of problems and had to move them several times. Three people in one family is a lot for two people to handle; however, they are not angry at his mother or her siblings, but at the situation itself!
But they haven’t let the situation defeat them. They retrieve past funny and sweet comments when they need them. Humor has been their salvation throughout all of these trials.
What Can I Do This Week?
- Read a funny book or rent a comedy and share it with the family member.
- If you don’t own an animal, consider getting a pet or have a therapy pet visit.
- In this New Year, try looking for the lighter moments. Try not to take yourself too seriously.
- Make a point of writing down funny or sweet comments when they happen.
Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
Heavenly Father, help me to not take my situation too seriously. Let me cherish the funny and endearing moments. Help me to laugh often, relax, and know that You are with me all the way.