While no one wants their loved ones to get older, age is something that happens to everyone. But for someone people, age can be much crueler than you’d like to suppose. Especially for those with a loved one suffering from dementia, you might be struggling with how to cope with this yourself as well as how to share this news with your children. For children, seeing a grandparent forget about them and not be able to take care of themselves anymore can be very scary. So to help your child through this situation, here are three tips for helping your child understand a grandparent’s battle with dementia.
Share The Gravity Of The Diagnosis
If you merely share with your child that their grandma or grandpa has dementia, this diagnosis likely won’t mean much to them. For your child to truly understand, you’re going to have to share with them how this disease is likely to progress for their grandparent. According to Jean Demetris, a contributor to Alzheimers.net, it’s important for you to share with your child that dementia has no cure. While this might seem harsh, it will keep your child from trying to find a way to repair what’s being done and have a false sense of hope that their grandparent will recover, which can be more detrimental to your child when their grandparent eventually passes away.
Be An Example Of How To Act Now
Once your child is made aware of the diagnosis that their grandparent has been given, they might now be unsure of how to conduct themselves around this loved one. To help your child know what’s still okay for them to do or say, the National Institute on Aging recommends that you serve as an example to your child of how to act around this loved one. Still continue to see and talk to this loved one and to try to do activities together. While these might not always be successful interactions, you will be able to show your child that you still have love and respect for this loved one even though their disease may be changing them.
Find Books That Can Help
Depending on the age and developmental understanding of your child, Carol Bradley Bursack, a contributor to ElderCareLink.com, shares that there are many books available to help your child learn about dementia and gain a better understanding of what’s happening not only to their grandparent but to the rest of the family as well. Look online or check out your local bookstore or library to find a book that would suit your child and your particular situation.
If you have a parent that was just diagnosed with dementia, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you learn how you can help your child through this tough time for your family.