Explaining an Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis to Children
At CaraVita Home Care, we understand the impact that an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis can have on a family. Though adults may understand the disease and how it could affect their family member, children may be unaware of the changes that may develop.
Discussing Alzheimer’s disease with children can pose a unique challenge for parents or other family members. CaraVita Home Care offers in-home care services in Roswell, Georgia, and the Metro Atlanta area, and we understand the many ups and downs that can accompany an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. We are here to provide a few tips to help you navigate the conversation when explaining Alzheimer’s or memory loss to young children.
Do Your Research
If you don’t fully understand Alzheimer’s disease, research will help you to get a better understanding of the condition. Researching the disease will help learn what to expect, which can help when explaining to others. Research can also help you navigate any questions children or other family members may have.
We invite you to read a previous CaraVita Home Care blog to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.
Be Open & Ask Questions
Having a condition that causes memory loss may confuse young children, but discussing Alzheimer’s disease in an open manner can make it seem less scary for some. While children may have questions regarding their family member, it is encouraged to ask them questions, as well.
When it comes to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, children may feel sad regarding the changes, worried that others in their life will develop memory loss, or be unsure how to interact with their family member now that he or she has Alzheimer’s. Asking questions and addressing these concerns early will help everyone involved.
Honesty is Always Key
Explain the Symptoms
Explaining the symptoms of Alzheimer’s will give children a better understanding of the disease and can help them better prepare for the reality of the situation. Alzheimer’s disease comes with many symptoms, including:
Preparing children for these circumstances can alleviate fear or confusion should their family member display any of the above symptoms.
Overall, it’s important to be honest with children about Alzheimer’s and the aspects of the condition that will impact them.
Preparing for Emotional Reactions
It’s not uncommon for a person to have an emotional response or reaction to news of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Prepare yourself for an emotional response; these responses may be indirect or may take time to manifest.
For example, if a child no longer wants to interact with their family member with Alzheimer’s disease, talk it through with them. Even though the disease may cause memory loss, personality changes, or mood swings, it doesn’t mean their relationship with their loved one needs to change. Depending on the situation, have the family member who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s speak to the child. It may be more comforting to learn about it from the person who is experiencing it.
Involve the Kids in Activities
If you are caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s disease, you may begin a routine for them, and their care needs. If this is the case, try to get children involved and participate. This will help you, and it will give them a better understanding of how they can interact with their family member. These tasks can be simple, like helping their loved one choose an outfit for the day or eating with him or her as you tend to other responsibilities around the house.
Help is Always Available
Being a family caregiver is a rewarding task, but it can come with its own set of challenges. If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, there may come a time when the level of care needed is beyond what you can offer. Should that ever be the case, it’s important to know that help is available.
CaraVita Home Care’s DementiaLife program is an innovative service that takes a unique and warranted approach to care. We train all of our dementia-specialized caregivers to truly become their client’s best friend. Our caregiver will learn their life story, personality traits, and incorporate all of the little things that make your loved one so special and unique to provide quality and compassionate in-home care.
To learn more about our innovative approach to dementia care, we encourage you to contact a home care expert.