Alzheimers and Communicating with Children
Talking with Children about Alzheimers
Dealing with an Alzheimers diagnosis can be difficult for any person to handle, but when a child must deal with an Alzheimers diagnosis or a loved one, entirely new challenges can present themselves. It can be extremely difficult for a child or a teenager to accept or understand an Alzheimers diagnosis. However, it is important that children are informed early on of what is happening to their loved one and that they understand what this means and what they should expect. Since Alzheimers disease impacts everything from the way a person communicates to their memory and even their personality, young people need to be prepared before they have interactions with a loved one with Alzheimers disease. With this in mind, here are a few things that you will want to remember when it comes to talking with a child about Alzheimers disease.
Having Age Appropriate Conversations
When it comes to discussing Alzheimers disease with children, it is important to be as open as you can, and to have age appropriate conversations with your children. You will want to provide them with as much information as they need to know while still presenting this information in way that they will feel comfortable with. If you are speaking with a teenager dont try to belittle the conversation or treat them as a child, and if you are speaking to a young child, let them know what you think is appropriate without over indulging.
It is important to remember that when a child receives serious news such as the news of an Alzheimers diagnosis of a loved one, they can be extremely overwhelmed. This is a very serious diagnosis and this can be a very emotional time for any child. Be prepared for a lot of questions and for different reactions. Different children may react with anger, fear, sadness or frustration. Some children will express outward aggression, others may be depressed, and some may be withdrawn while others may pretend nothing is wrong. No matter how your child reacts, it is important that you are accepting of their reaction.
Encouraging Communication from Children
An important part of talking about Alzheimers disease with children is encouraging them to communicate with the person with Alzheimers disease. Encourage children to communicate with their loved one by speaking slowly and clearly, using touch and body language and having patience. Many children also react positively to being given age-appropriate caregiving activities. Overall, your goal should be to educate your child on new ways they can start interacting with their loved one.