If an elderly family member has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, children and teenagers may struggle to understand the condition. They may be confused by the behavior of a grandparent, or have questions about how they can help with Alzheimer's care. These conditions are complex, so explaining matters to young ones can seem daunting. The guide below will help you approach and structure the conversation to provide clarity and comfort.
How to Talk to Kids About Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care
How to Explain Dementia
The first step is knowing the definitions of dementia and Alzheimer’s and what they entail. If you’re knowledgeable about the subject, your child will be reassured and know they can depend on you as a source of information. While they may have questions you can’t answer, be honest about what you don’t know, as this will foster trust.
Dementia and the various progressive degenerative mental health conditions it encompasses, like Alzheimer’s disease, involve medical terminology like intact cortex and occipital lobes. Avoid this overly technical language when explaining the condition, especially with young children. Instead, focus on explaining what differences they might notice in their loved one’s behavior, such as memory lapses about seemingly unforgettable information, difficulty paying attention, and an inability to perform daily tasks, like tying shoes. Let them know that the behavior isn’t deliberate.
How to Help Children Cope
It’s completely normal for children and teens to feel sad after learning the news, especially if they have a close bond with the person struggling with the condition. As you talk with your children, validate their feelings and encourage them to continue to be kind and loving. Be prepared to face hard-to-answer questions, such as why misfortune befalls good people.
Your young one may feel better if they know there are proactive steps they can take to help with Alzheimer’s care. Encourage your children to help their loved ones remember traditions and life events by creating scrapbooks or engaging in activities they’ve always enjoyed with their older relatives, such as baking or arts and crafts. Make sure you, a home care aide, or other adult is on hand to supervise these activities and offer support if needed.
Watching over a loved one who’s struggling with dementia can be incredibly challenging for the entire family, which is why having help is essential. Visiting Angels Toms River is staffed with compassionate caregivers who are committed to offering personable and attentive home Alzheimer’s care to residents of Ocean County, NJ. Learn more about the services they offer by exploring their website or by giving their team a call at (732) 240-1050.