When a family member has been diagnosed with dementia, it can be tempting to keep the truth from your children. You would be digesting the information yourself and no doubt dealing with complex emotions, and you may feel that explaining dementia to a child can complicate things.
However, what we can all agree on is that children have an uncanny way of knowing when something is wrong, even if they don’t express it. As such, it would be in everyone’s best interests for you to explain what their grandparent or relative is going through.
Allow Children to Better Manage Difficult Situations
If you keep your children in the dark about their loved one’s diagnosis, this doesn’t mean they have no idea that something’s wrong. Your child may be dealing with other difficult situations in their life, such as exams and peer pressure. When you decide to keep the truth from them, this can add on to the stress they are already feeling.
However, when you explain dementia to a child, you are letting them in on something that affects your whole family. Some of the benefits of this include:
- When you are honest with your child about what’s going on and share your feelings about it, your child will feel closer to you and therefore more likely to come to you with any future problems
- You can teach your child how to manage stress and difficult situations, whether through example or by helping them cope with their emotions
- You can be there for your child when they require emotional support, which gives them peace of mind that they never have to go through any problem alone
Telling Children About Dementia
It’s always best for your child to learn about their grandparent’s or elderly loved one’s diagnosis from you. If you keep it from them and they find out the truth later on, they may find it hard to trust what you say. Some top tips to follow when explaining dementia to a child include:
- Providing clear explanations about the condition and what they can expect to happen as it progresses
- Offering reassurance that their loved one will be okay – one way you can back this up is by including your child in conversations regarding long-term care options
- Letting your child know that you are there to help them deal with any painful emotions the diagnosis may bring up
Depending on your child’s age, you may wish to simplify explanations accordingly. Avoid complicating things – simply let them know about the changes occurring in their loved one’s brain and body and explain that things are going to change, but that it’s not all bad.
Consider Hidden Meadows On The Ridge Your Partner in Memory Care
If you are looking for a memory care program for a loved one with dementia, consider Hidden Meadows On The Ridge as one of your top options. Feel free to schedule a tour of our retirement community and find out what we have to offer your loved one.