When a grandchild sees a grandparent losing the capacity to remember and they are less than 10 years of age, it is hard for them to understand what is happening to Grandma or Grandpa.
Try to give the individual with dementia the pleasure of relationship with a younger family member – it just might be the medicine they need. Help your child understand their grandparent has an illness that affects their memory and ability to understand requests or even stories being shared.
Here are 4 helpful hints to share with your child in order to have a relationship with someone with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia:
1) Don’t ask Grandma to do something she can no longer do – like making cookies. Instead, invite her to share a cookie with you.
2) Share information about your activities with Grandpa but keep the details simple. Instead of giving the details of a softball game simply state, “I hit a homerun today”!
3) People with dementia or memory loss often don’t like sudden or loud noises. Approach a Grandparent slowly, speak so you can be heard, but don’t shout. Tell them your name, “Hi Grandpa, it’s me, Billy”.
4) Grandparents often just like to watch you do something, like playing a piano, drawing a picture or even doing your homework.
There is no substitution for hugs and kisses. Most of us love to be loved – but occasionally this is refused. This response doesn’t mean Grandma doesn’t love you – it just means today her illness has her confused and she doesn’t understand who you are. Try again another day.