The majority of individuals with dementia are cared for by someone in their family. Depending on the stage of dementia they are in, this could mean moving an elderly person in to your home for more immediate and specific care. Nearly one-fourth of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are “sandwich generation” caregivers — caring for both someone with the disease and a child or grandchild. Explaining dementia and caring for someone with dementia could be confusing for a child.
Talking About Dementia With Kids
A dementia diagnosis is an unsure and confusing time for adults. Oftentimes, our first thought is to protect our children from the reality we are facing. This can become damaging for kids. It is important that you continue to provide and honest environment that reassures stability and support.
Keep Keeping the Connection
Many children will become upset when they learn or begin to understand what is happening with someone they love. As a caregiver, there are things you can encourage to nurture the bond between a child and an elderly who has dementia. Here are some ideas for how kids can stay connected.
- Have younger children draw greeting cards or pictures for their grandparent.
- Have them play a few songs to entertain their grandparent.
- In the case of teenagers, involve them in their grandparent’s care.
- Plan some family outings in which your parent/grandparent comes along
- Play board games or card games
- Remind your child of the importance of physical contact
It is important to continuously support a child through this difficult time. Keeping an open line of communication is key. You should talk to your child honestly about what is happening and answer any questions they might have. This will make them feel safe and secure in such a turbulent time.
Family relationships are a large part of life. Keeping those relationships as normal as possible is something we strive to do at Orchard at Brookhaven. If you and/or your family would like to see our community, please contact us to schedule a tour.