Family • Wellbeing • Adventure

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Dementia and its Impact on Children

Dementia is a set of symptoms that can include memory loss, difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. These changes are often small to start with, but for someone with dementia, these can become severe enough to affect daily life. Of course, dementia's impact on the patient is very upsetting, it can also be incredibly impactive on the rest of the family. As a family, caring for dementia, is certainly no easy task and some of the most common feelings families and caregivers experience are guilt, grief and loss, and anger. For children, it can be an especially confusing time.

Children experience a wide range of emotions when a parent or grandparent has Alzheimer’s disease. Younger children may be fearful that they will get the disease or that they did something to cause it. The best way to tackle this is by reassuring your children that they certainly can not catch the disease. Try to be open and honest about personality and behaviour changes that they are witnessing.

Looking into a counsellor who specialises in the emotional needs of someone who has been affected by dementia may be useful, especially if you're noting your child is not coping with the changes or it's impacting on their emotional health.

Perhaps your child could help create a memory book for their relative, something which they can take responsibility for and make them feel like they're able to help. This is something that can end up being a lot of fun and offer's the chance to open up a dialogue about how they're feeling. This memory book can be something that they can then take to their relatives who live in a care home and share with them.  

Visiting a care home can be incredibly daunting for children, but brings so much joy for people with dementia. The needs of the children concerned must be addressed if these visits are to be successful though. The youngest children can be distracted and engaged with toys, and can be watched at play by the person with dementia. The person with dementia may enjoy joining in with them, playing with a pop up toy or playing simple interactive games such as ‘Row the Boat'. Alzheimers Research UK has some fantastic resources and offers a range of advice on how to support your children through this time also.

Do you have any advice for families coping with dementia?

Mummy B xoxox

*Collaborative Post

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