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Coping Mechanisms – Comedy & Crunching

What with growing wisdom teeth, pampering nanny and taking her out to enjoy the sun have been away from writing for a while, so apologies for the delay.

This was a post I wanted to write a couple of weeks ago but what with one thing and another it kept getting pushed back. 

As you can probably guess from the title I have decided to write about coping mechanisms, for those with a loved one who suffers from dementia. This was triggered by something you may or may not have seen. Rylan Clark (X Factor contestant) posted something on his Twitter, which made a joke out of his nan who has dementia.

Nannys climbed out the window down my aunts house….. Alzheimers, As sad as it is, you’ve still gotta laugh x #loveher.’ (sic) 

He added: ‘Update! Nanny wants to come see her favourite grandson, she’s on her way! Love her so much. Swear she’s putting it on half the time x.’

For me personally the joke was clearly not offensive, but it caused outrage from many of his followers and ended up with him having to apologize. I also use humor to cope with my nan’s dementia, and so does my nan. It is just easier to laugh about things that could cause massive upset to the people involved and it helps us keep plodding on with life. Should we be criticized for the way we deal with situations? Is humor the right way? I believe it is the right way, as it helps everyone feel more relaxed, but there is a very fine line with using the humor as a coping mechanism and the humor being offensive. 

Sometimes however even humor cannot help me cope, and I still find myself getting stressed, and trying desperately not to bash my head on the wall. Something I have found that helps when I get cross is crunching, be it dry cereal, carrots or ryvita. Crunching down on something hard repetitively for some reason really calms me. I mentioned it to the Admiral Nurse and she said that there have in fact been scientific studies that prove that crunching releases endorphins, so may even be something to consider to help nan cope. (There’s something new to try when you’re at your wits end)

As a post note I would like to add that I also believe that sometimes my nan must have “selective” memory! Sometimes it’s as if she remembers the smallest things with no significance, but cannot remember the things she needs to remember. I obviously know she does not put it on, and it is a sad illness but at the same time it is amusing for me to think she’s actually plotting against me, trying to make me insane! 

What methods do you use to deal with sad/awkward situations?


2 thoughts on “Coping Mechanisms – Comedy & Crunching

  1. Oh dementia and it’s ugliness. My dad’s had it for three years now. He’s only 60. Our sense of humor (that came from him) is the ONLY thing that’s getting us through the sadness that’s this time in our lives.

    I think it’s easy for people to be upset or angry about “heartless” humor at our sick loved ones’ expense… But until you’re knee deep in the pain and sadness of the sickness, you can’t judge. And just because tears works for one person, doesn’t mean laughter is healing for another.

    Laugh on. Joke on. Nan would love it.

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