Dementia can be difficult to explain, regardless of age. However, when your children notice that your parent, their grandma or grandpa, is acting differently because of symptoms of dementia, parents should face these questions head-on and address them honestly. Your mother or father may play a crucial part in your children’s lives. Research suggests that if you don’t attempt to explain these problems to your inquisitive son or daughter, he or she will create an explanation from their own imaginations. Without knowledge about dementia and what it does to people, the child’s explanation may be more harmful than helpful. Sit down and explain the symptoms of dementia to your children in a manner that is age appropriate.
How to Explain Dementia to Your Children
If your child is specifically asking about grandma’s forgetfulness sit down and ask your daughter some open-ended questions such as:
- “Have you ever known anyone who has forgotten things a lot?”
- “How do you feel when grandpa is sad?”
Have a conversation and let you daughter or son know that their grandparent may be forgetful, sad, angry and changing, and sometimes this is part of aging and memory loss. Talk about ways in which you are working to help your parent and also share this with your caregiver. Empower them to stay involved in the life of their grandparent.
Dependent on your son or daughter’s age, it’s important to keep the explanation short and straightforward. Even teens and young adults may not want the complete medical details of how and why grandma or grandpa is changing. Remember, grandparents are the special adults in their lives, often the ones who ‘spoil’ them. They are the link that binds generations of a family. When grandparents begin to change and are no longer themselves, it is the grandchildren who fear the family and traditions are dissolving. Parents have the responsibility of handling the information and understanding about a grandparent’s disease and the emotional angst it may cause for their children.
Need help with your mom or dad? Our caregivers provide professional dementia care services to keep patients calm, content and safe at home. Give us a call at 239-221-6326 for more information on how we can help your loved one.