Is This A Joke Or Is It Just Me?
By: Michelle Remold
I enjoy a good joke or a hearty laugh just as much as anyone. In fact, sometimes I am all too eager to crack a joke or share a joke I have recently heard. Lately however, I seem to hear more and more jokes geared toward or people laughing at Alzheimer’s or dementia. When this happens I am usually the only one not laughing. This has made me raise my eyebrows and really think about why this may be; I think I have finally made the connection.
I think that when people feel the only way to approach the discussion on Alzheimer’s or dementia is with humor, it points to it being an uncomfortable discussion topic. When you think about it, sometimes the best way to deal with an awkward or uncomfortable conversation is to try to add humor in some way. While this may be a good coping mechanism, I don’t seem to find the humor in making fun of a disease. Sure it can be beneficial to look back and be able to laugh at moments caused by the disease or to be able to find the humor in a moment that is currently taking place, but laughing at a disease as a whole, I don’t understand.
I think that in order to make discussing Alzheimer’s and dementia less of an uncomfortable topic, awareness and education need to be increased. However the only way to achieve either of these things is to continue to have those uncomfortable discussions. I say that if you need to use humor in a discussion about Alzheimer’s or dementia, use caution. After all you never know who is dealing with a recent diagnosis of themselves or a loved one or who is dealing with other problems related to the disease. To them these attempts at humor, even if well intended, may come across as being insensitive.
Michelle graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her Bachelor of Arts in Gerontology: Social Sciences and a minor in Family Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Aging Studies and Nursing Home Administration from Minnesota State University Mankato.