Dementia in the Eyes of a Child

Dementia affects not only the patient suffering from it but those who live around him like friends and family.  It consists of symptoms that target the way people think reason and interact with other. Although it is not considered a disease, it is linked to other diseases that trigger it and to aging.  Due to how frustrating it can be to the patient who suffers from dementia, it also changes their personality.  Short time memory loss is a main symptom.  Other areas affected are speech and motor skills.

Children and some teenagers might pop out the question: What is wrong with Grandma?  Explaining dementia to younger people might be a little complicated. Whatever we tell them as parents we need to have them get involved in the matter and feel secure. Dealing with someone that suffers from dementia can be very challenging and young people, when they do not know what is going on with that person will get scared to see how a loved one does not recognized them or acts in a funny way.

Many parents will want to protect their children from confusing and tough situations such as these however in the case of dementia it is very important to get them in the loop of things and here are a few reasons why:

1. No matter how much you try to hide it, children will pick up on a tense atmosphere and will be able to tell that something is going on.  Being honest with them and telling them what is really going on will be reassuring them that they are part of the family and will help them understand what is going on.

2. Knowing about dementia and why it's attacking their loved ones will help them realize that the changes the person is going through are due to an illness and not a personal situation towards the child.

3. It will be less settling and very sad for children to find out what is going on by their own means and learning that those around him did not trust him of her with the reality of the situation.

4. Children can learn a lot by being involved as they can acquire valuable skills to be able to be part of the support group for that person and to be able to deal with the stress and the emotions triggered by a person with dementia.

5. Be totally honest with your children. Give them all the explanations that they request until it is clear to them what is going on. This will help them a better idea of what is going on and how normal it could be. Reassure them that they can ask as many as they need to be able to share the same feelings the rest of the family is having.

All the changes happening in the family when someone comes down with dementia will affect children and teenagers. As adults care for those elderly ones with dementia they grow tired, stressed and very sensitive. Sometimes younger ones will end up being the ones triggering a breakdown on the caregiver and of course, they will suffer the consequences of that stress. This will make them be anxious of how to act whenever they need attention for any reason.

Many of the feelings that young children go through when their grandma or grandpa or anyone who they love are affected by dementia include:

1. Sadness that someone they love so much is going through that.

2. Anxiety of not knowing what is going to happen next.

3. Embarrassment towards the sufferers' behavior around other people.

4. Hearing the same talk over and over as to what is happening can get boring.

5. They can get confused when trying to understand why they need to care for a person that used to take care of them.

6. Feeling that they lost their grandma or grandpa or loved one even though they still see them.

7. Frustration that the caregivers do not dedicate as much time to them as before because they are now caring for the other person. 

Consider all these and open up a clear and honest channel for your child to communicate what they are feeling.  Never shut out your child when dealing with dementia in the family. You just need to know how to channel the information depending on the age of your child but always keep that channel open and they will thank you one day.

Getting your children involved will also make them great caregiver in the future. They can help stimulate the person with dementia with games and talks. They will not feel left out and will actually feel important as they too are helping with the tasks and needs the person with dementia require. Most importantly, show them how to love that person with all their heart and tech them the will to help as much as possible.

Discount Medical Supplies offers Advice and Understanding for Caregivers.