Monday, February 09, 2009

caregiving: teeth brushing smiles

Laughter is good medicine, yes, but if you are the entertainer sometimes you must be prepared.

I try to involve Patti in the only activity of daily living she can really still do reasonably by herself, brush her teeth.

Yes I position her wheelchair in front of her sink, fill her rinse cup, put toothpaste on her tooth brush and hand it to her but too often brain lock or something another would leave it right there.

Ever the showman, I take on a silly accent or song to provide verbal cues.

Sunday night I rolled out some vaudeville while leaning into the sink and singing a modified version of "Heigh Ho!", “We brush, brush … in our mouth the whole day through” .

Whether annoying or entertaining, this produced not only a big smile but more importantly brushing!

Next handing Patti her rinse cup, I leaned in and boomed out in a operatic voice, “We rinse, rinse …”.

Patti exploded in laughter spitting toothpaste and rinse water all over me.

This in turn triggered absolute hysterical laughter!

I believe I have never seen anyone have more fun brushing their teeth (and bringing out the hook on my performance :) ).

Later she was still laughing. It was like transferring a bowl of jello into bed.

In the care facility era, you have to "create" the laughter wherever and whenever. Come to think of it that is true in any era of care.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer
web site:
Patrick Ponders ...


  1. Patrick your one of a kind! The entertainment idea to get Patti to brush is priceless! (Hugs)Indigo

  2. dang, Blogger just ate my first comment. dang, I can't remember what I wrote......... are to be commended, Patrick, for your creativity!! very clever! I second what Indigo said too :)

    hope you are doing well and keeping somewhat out of trouble :)


  3. What a wonderful way to end the day! The facility staff must love to watch these entertaining situations.... and maybe they will learn to do the same! At the facility where Mom was I saw staff coaxing smiles and laughs from residents but not on that scale!


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