Helping Children Understand Dementia

Grandparents With Granddaughter Enjoying Coffee And Cake In Caf

Coping with the changes that dementia from Alzheimer’s disease or another condition can cause in a loved one is difficult for many people. For children, it is especially confusing and overwhelming. Kids may struggle to understand why their beloved grandparent suddenly seems to be changing so drastically. As a parent, there are many things you can do to help your children come to terms with a grandparent’s dementia and foster a continued bond. Here are some strategies you can use.

Give Straightforward Explanations
Instead of trying to hide or downplay dementia to your children, answer their questions as clearly as possible. Explain as much as you can about how the brain works and how dementia affects memory and the body. When your children ask tough questions, resist the urge to hide the truth, as doing so will only deepen their confusion. Children may not always be able to grasp how dementia works and the ways it is impacting their grandparent, but continuing to be open about the condition will help lessen the confusion.

Validate Their Feelings
Sometimes, people with dementia act in ways they would not have in the past, including becoming angry and agitated with their grandchildren. If your parent with dementia says something that hurts your children’s feelings, let them know that it is OK to feel upset and angry. Also encourage your kids to share any feelings of loss and sadness. Keeping the lines of communication open can help your children come to terms with their changing relationship with their grandparent.

Live in the Moment
Explain to your children that, as dementia progresses, their grandparent may not remember the time they spend together, but that he or she will enjoy their visit in the moment. Remind your kids that their grandparent is still the same person they have always loved, and while their interactions may be different, dementia does not mean they have to stop spending time together.

At Avalon Memory Care, our home-like environment is ideal for maintaining family bonds. Our Alzheimer’s care homes in Dallas-Fort Worth provide a range of services, including nutritious meals and social activities. To learn more about the Alzheimer’s care we can provide for your loved one, please call (214) 752-7050.