A study has shown that entrusting grandparents with looking after grandchildren for a day a week can ward of dementia-related illnesses. The social engagement and mental agility needed to look after little ones is great for people’s health as they reach their later years.
But what about grandchildren around grandparents that are already suffering from the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia-related conditions? It can be upsetting and confusing for youngsters to see their grandparent’s personality change or seeing them struggle with basic tasks. Here is some advice and tips around an often tricky subject.
Encourage the relationship
You will notice the benefits for both grandchild and dementia sufferer if you take a step back and let the relationship flourish. It is good for the child to understand the ageing process and the relationship will give your elderly relative a sense of achievement.
The relationship will reinforce the dementia sufferer’s identity as a grandparent especially if they are going through significant emotional problems because of the disease.
Appreciate Your Child’s Help
Your child’s role in helping out and bonding with a relative with dementia will also nurture a maturity in the youngster.
It is important to make sure the grandchild isn’t scared or upset by some of the more extreme behaviours associated with dementia but keeping them involved is also beneficial as well as letting them know their help is very important to Grandma/Granddad and the whole family.
Don’t Assume the Child’s ExpectationsBe Open about the Subject
The best way to approach the situation if your child gets upset or worried about his or her grandparent is to be open about the subject. Explain how it is a natural thing that happens to people as they get old and we must help as much as possible.
You will need to speak to the child on their level and give them the information that they can comprehend at their age but it is best to respond to any questions the youngster may have in the most truthful way appropriate.
Introduce the Carer
If your elderly loved one is getting help at home it may be helpful in order for the grandchild to fully understand the situation to be introduced to the carer and the role they play in their grandparent’s life.
While it is good to encourage your child’s involvement in the relationship and let them help out with the care as much as possible it is important to be around as support especially if the condition is advanced and to offer advice when needed.