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Helping Children Understand Alzheimer’s

By Debbie Waddell, 9:00 am on

Every family member is affected when a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, including children, who often need additional help understanding this medical condition. The tips below, provided by the Placer County senior care experts at Home Care Assistance, can help you explain to your child what Alzheimer’s disease isand how it affects your family.

Be Honest

Children will want to know why their grandmother or grandfather no longer remembers them. Tell your child about theillness and why it makes it hard for your loved one to remember people, including family members. Explain that the disease and its resulting symptoms are not your child’s fault, even though his or her grandparent may misplace something and blame the child.

Provide Reassurance

A child’s biggest fear in this situation may be the belief their parents, siblings, or other family members will also soon have Alzheimer’s. You may need to explain to your child that the disease is not contagious. Discuss how it is diagnosed, and how it can be prevented. You willwant reassure your child thateveryone is not going to suddenly wake up with Alzheimer’s the next morning.

Talk Things Out

Some children will be upset with the news and keep their negative feelings inside. As your loved one’s disease progresses, it can become more difficult for a child to understand the situation, especially if your loved one is unresponsive. If trying to understand Alzheimer’s becomes too unbearable for your child, ask family and friends to help with the explanation.

Create Activities to Stay Connected

If your child is able to spend time with your loved one, you can help them stay connected through a variety of activities, including listening to music and going through photo albums together. These activities can help the two of them form a bond and also stimulate mental activity in your loved one.

As your child grows and spends more time with your loved one, understanding the disease will likely become easier. Including your child in light caregiving responsibilities may also help speed up this process. However, other obligations in your life may limit how much care you can provide for your loved one, but a professional caregiver can help bridge those gaps. If you are looking for an Alzheimer’s caregiver in Placer County, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are experienced in caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s, which enables them to provide the appropriate amount of support your loved one needs. To schedule a free in-home consultation, call one of our experienced Care Managers today at 916.226.3737.

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