If a senior in your child’s life is diagnosed with a form of dementia, it can be difficult for them to understand the changes. Ensuring your child understands the condition and maintains a bond with their loved one is paramount to their own happiness and the loved one’s dementia care. Below is a brief guide on how to speak with your child about your loved one’s condition.
How to Explain Dementia to Your Child
Depending on your child’s age, they could have a variety of responses to finding out their loved one now needs dementia care. Young children may be confused about what the condition means and how it affects their loved one, so explain how it impacts their memory and actions, tailoring the conversation to the individual’s symptoms.
Older children will understand the condition and might experience a host of emotions, such as wondering what their loved one’s dementia care will entail, feeling frustration and guilt at how the change impacts their life, and being uncomfortable around them. Explain to your children that their loved one will begin to have worsening memory problems that may affect their ability to remember names and people, but that this is just a symptom of their condition. Be honest with them about dementia and learn more about it together, allowing them to vent their emotions without judgment.
How to Maintain Their Relationship
Encourage your children to spend time with their loved one beyond helping with their home care, as it will benefit both parties. Young children can spend time playing, reading, coloring, or watching TV with their loved one. Older kids may benefit from baking together (with supervision and if the loved one is able), taking short walks, doing puzzles, and watching old movies or TV reruns.
Communication may be difficult, too, but remind your children to be patient, kind, and responsive. With dementia, it’s not uncommon for your loved one to repeat things or become withdrawn or upset during conversations, and you should speak with your children about how to respond to these events. Always answer questions, and use light physical touch or simple questions to encourage your loved one to rejoin the conversation. If they become upset or frustrated, stay calm and reassure them that it’s okay before trying to draw their attention to something else, such as a game, food, or a walk.
Caring for a loved one with dementia can be difficult, but the compassionate team at Interim Healthcare in Huntsville, AL, is here to provide support. For more than 50 years, they’ve provided quality in-home senior care services, personalized to each individual’s needs. From bathing and grooming tasks to light housekeeping and companionship, their trained dementia care staff will help your loved one stay safe and independent in their home, so you and your children can focus on maintaining a personal relationship with them. Learn more about their home care services online, or call (256) 469-2100 to arrange a visit with one of their caretakers today.