"When an elder in the family has dementia: the impact on children"
From Swapna Kishore Blog :
"Adults often underestimate the impact on children who see a grandparent deteriorate and become forgetful. Children may get unnerved when they see an elder lose their memories and act in strange ways. It makes the order of their world go topsy-turvy; after all, most children get a sense of stability and security in their lives by assuming that the adults will look after them. A child may have fond memories of a grandparent who is now unable to recognize them, is acting clumsy and out of control, and the experience could traumatize a child.
To me it seems that the best way forward is to talk openly to the children so that they are not frightened by what is happening. This means explaining things to the children, listening to their questions, resolving queries, sharing tips.
Children are more likely to understand, though, if other persons at home are also able to “walk the talk” in the way they respond to the person with dementia.
The children need to not just hear words like “dementia” and “brain has shrunk” but believe that the behavior they are seeing is because of that, and that by talking to the grandparent in certain ways, the problems will reduce. We have to not just explain but convince and demonstrate to the children, and all this is very important because children have a right to this information–they are part of the family and are stakeholders."
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