When talking about life with Alzheimer’s and dementia, all too often we focus on what is missing from the past rather than taking pleasure in the present. In my mother’s case, there is a lot to celebrate. She loves singing, playing the piano and organ, reading, word puzzles, walking, views of the City and bright colors. She takes enormous joy in babies, animals, and when she can get it—ice cream. She is kind—always ready with a smile and a compliment. She has an intense need to be useful—eager to help with any task at hand. She enjoys her sister Louise and cousin Frank—all in their 90’s and all still close.
Last but not least, Mom is funny. She laughs…a lot. She certainly makes me laugh. Sometimes she’s mischievous, sometimes just hilarious. Lately she has turned to physical humor. When I tell her that she is 94, she pretends to be incredibly feeble, all atremble with a quavering voice—her impression of what a truly old person must be like.
My friend Al is of the firm opinion that humor stays till the end. Consider this exchange with his Aunt Lillian:
“Aunt Lillian, my car is in for repairs today so my sister had to drive me. And guess where she’s driving me?”