5 Tips for Talking with Kids about Alzheimer’s Disease
June 4, 2015
Starting the Conversation about Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
If you are struggling to find a way to talk with your children about Alzheimer’s disease, these tips may be of help:
- Plan a Family Meeting: Before you sit down to talk with your kids about Alzheimer’s disease, take some time to prepare. A few important issues to consider and plan to discuss include:
- Communication: Plan to share a few simple ways for kids to communicate with a grandparent. Remind your children to approach from the front so their grandparent can see them coming and aren’t startled. It is also important to use a low, calm voice when talking with someone who has Alzheimer’s.
- Activities: Create a list of activities the two generations can still enjoy together. 101 Activities from the Alzheimer’s Association may help you with your list.
- Video Series: The Alzheimer’s Association created a video library to help you discuss the topic with your family. Kids Look at Alzheimer’s disease is a video series that features kids and teens discussing how Alzheimer’s has impacted their lives. They have one series for teens and another one for children.
- Encourage Honesty: During the conversation, encourage your kids to talk openly and honestly about their feelings. For example, they may be embarrassed by their grandparent’s behavior or they may feel sad about losing their special relationship. Let your children know it is OK to share those feelings so you can talk about them together.
- Explain the Disease: Be certain you explain to your children that Alzheimer’s is a disease and the disease is causing their grandfather to act differently. Also make sure the kids understand that Alzheimer’s isn’t contagious and they can’t catch it like they would a cold.
- Books That Help: If your children are young, there are several books that may help. What’s Happening to Grandpa? by Maria Shriver is one. Another one is Still My Grandma by Veronique Van Den Abeele.
We hope these suggestions help make it easier for you to tackle the topic of Alzheimer’s disease with your children. To learn more about Alzheimer’s care, please call the Five Star Senior Living community nearest to you.