On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

I’ve had too much fun the last couple of days celebrating my birthday and visiting with my family to focus on anything serious, so it’s time for some more senior humor. I hope you enjoy the healing balm of a chuckle or two.

Without using a calculator:  You’re driving a bus from London to Milford Haven in Wales. In London, 17 people get on the bus. In Reading, six people get off the bus and nine people get on. In Swindon, two people get off and four get on. In Cardiff , 11 people get off and 16 people get on. In Swansea, three people get off and five people get on. In Carmathen, six people get off and three get on.

You then arrive at Milford Haven.

What is the name of the bus driver?

If you can’t figure out the answer, you’ll really relate to the next couple of stories.

Years ago Dad had a mysterious brain malfunction that took him from fully functional to an almost vegetative state in a matter of hours. In spite of a myriad of tests, the doctors never figured out what the problem was, but after two weeks in the hospital and three more in rehab, he returned to normal, or at least to what passed for normal before he was stricken.

It was a difficult time, but it wasn’t all bad. We had some laughs as his speech started to return. Every morning the nurse came in with a cheerful greeting and asked if he knew his name. He didn’t, so we  worked on his answer.

“Daddy, do you know your name?”

He looked at me with understanding and determination in his eyes, but he couldn’t get the words to form.

“Elmer. Try to say Elmer,” I said.


“That’s good. Who am I? Can you say Linda?”


“Getting close. Who am I?”

“Elmer,” he said with a grin.

“Close enough.”

Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades.  Over the years, they shared all kinds of activities and adventures.  Lately, their activities were limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards.

One day while they were playing, one looked at the other and said, “Now don’t get mad at me. I know we’ve been friends for a long time, but I just can’t think of your name. Please tell me what your name is.”

Her friend glared at her for at least three minutes.  Finally she said, “How soon do you need to know?”

If you still haven’t figured out the opening riddle, drop me a note at LindaBrendle@yahoo.com and I’ll e-mail the answer to you. And you might also want to pay particular attention to the next story.

During a visit to my doctor, I asked him, “How do you determine whether or not an older person should be put in a residential care facility?”

“First we fill up a bathtub,” he said. “Then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the person and ask them to empty the tub.”

“Oh, I understand,” I said. “A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.”

“No” he said. “A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?”

A caregiver of dementia patients sometimes forgets how a normal person thinks. I know I did when Mom and Dad came to live with us for a few years, especially during the infamous seven-week RV trip that became the basis for my memoir, A Long and Winding Road, RVing with Mom and Dad. Following is a typical conversation while helping them get dressed while we were on the road.

“Dad,” I said, “that’s the same shirt you had on yesterday. I put out a clean one for you.”

“I didn’t see it,” he said, “and I’ve already put this one on.”

“Did you use your deodorant?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Why don’t you go ahead and use it again, just in case. And since you’ll have your shirt off, you can put the clean one on!”

Mom hates to be left out of anything, so she jumped in. “I put on my clean shirt,” she said, “but I think I forgot the deodorant. I’ll do that now.”

“That’s great, Mom. Did you put on your clean underwear and socks?”


“Where did you put the dirties?”

“I don’t know.”

“Here they are, under your pillow.”

“Something’s wrong with my glasses. I can’t see!”

“Those are Dad’s glasses. Yours are on the kitchen counter.”

“That’s better! Elmer, your hair is sticking up.”

“I don’t think I brought a brush.”

“It’s in the bathroom, Dad. I’ll get it. Mom, here’s yours. After you’ve brushed your hair, brush your teeth while I fold up the bed.”

And you thought toddlers were a handful!

My last offering isn’t exactly about seniors, but when I saw it, I thought of my brother. Jim, this one’s for you.

If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.

I hope these stories brightened your day a little bit. If you have a cute story that I might use in my next Senior Humor offering, leave a comment or e-mail me at LindaBrendle@yahoo.com.



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