Despite popular belief, children are extremely capable of understanding what is going on around them. They are also affected by an aging loved one developing Alzheimer’s disease, and it is extremely important that you make sure to explain this disease to them in such a way that they cannot only understand what is going on, but can also be a beneficial element of the senior’s ongoing elder care.
Elder care issues such as Alzheimer’s disease can be difficult for children to comprehend. This is not because they are incapable of understanding, but because most of the time the other adults around them do not take the time to explain these issues to them adequately. This can leave them feeling confused, frightened, forgotten and unloved. Instead of allowing this to happen, make sure that an important part of your aging loved one’s elder care is clearly involving the children in his life. This will not only benefit the children and that they will be able to understand what is going on with their aging family member, but will also help your aging parent. Having children in his life can help your parent feel more energetic, happier, and more connected to the world around him.
When discussing Alzheimer’s disease with your children, be prepared for many questions. Children seek to understand situations around them by asking questions and exploring different options. You may find that your children repeat the same question, but don’t get frustrated and stop answering them because it may be that they are simply working through another element of their understanding and need to be reminded of the answer to the question in order to fully understand.
Don’t try to sugarcoat the situation by not telling your children that their grandparent is suffering from a disease. Tell them that this is a sickness that will not go away, but it is not something that they will catch. Explain that this is a disease that affects the grandma or grandpa’s mind and makes it more difficult to think and do things that they used to be able to do. Make sure that the child understands of this in no way means that the grandparent does not love him, or that the grandparent is not the same person. Help him to interact with the senior in meaningful ways that will help them to maintain a bonded relationship as the disease progresses.
Keep your children informed of the progression of your aging loved one’s Alzheimer’s disease at all times so he never feels as though you were trying to hide something from him. Help him to notice the changes that are happening, but also give him the opportunity to change his relationship and his interactions in ways that are comfortable and meaningful to him. By allowing your children to be an active part in your parent’s elder care you are giving them an important lesson of the value of family, and making sure that they know that they are important members.
If you or someone you know needs help with elder care in Grand Rapids, MI contact the caregivers at Gauthier Family Home Care. We provide quality and affordable home care for many disabled and elderly loved ones in our community. Call us at (616) 258-2300 for more information.
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