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3 things to keep in mind when it comes to talking to children about dementia

We all like to protect our children from the outside world as much as we can. However, there are just some things in life that you need to let them know about. Illness and possible death of a relative is something that many of us simply cannot avoid.

With so many people living in the UK with dementia of some form now, there is a very good chance that you, and your children, will find yourself faced with a relative who is suffering with dementia.

Some may decide not to talk to their children about dementia and what is happening to their loved one, however, we think that this might not be the best approach. After all, your children will realise that something is happening and will often ask questions about the situation.

The trouble is, where do you start to discuss dementia with your children? To help you along the way we have put together 3 things that you should keep in mind when it comes to discussing dementia with your children.

Be honest about what is happening

Children do not like being lied to, and they can often tell when you are not being entirely truthful about what is happening. It can be hard to say to your child that someone they love so much is unwell and not only is it likely that this won’t change, but get worse over time, this is hard to hear. However, your child will appreciate you being honest and it will help them to prepare for the future.

Always remind them that the person is the same person that they love

When it comes to dementia, one of the hardest things to keep in mind is that the person who has the condition is still the same person that they have always been. This is particularly true for children, who may not understand how dementia works and the effect that it has. It is vital that you remind your children that the person that they see now is still the same person that they have always been, they just are struggling to remember who people are.

Think of activities with your child that they can do

One problem for children who have a loved one with dementia is that they may feel scared or unsure about sitting and speaking to them. A great way to get over this is to find activities that your child can do with their loved one that brings them together. This could be something as simple as reading to them or perhaps listening to music together, whatever things that seem to appeal to them both.

Dementia isn’t the easiest thing to cope with as a family, however, we feel that even the youngest member can benefit from simply sitting down and talking. Giving them an overview of what might happen in the long term and allowing them to prepare for it as best they can.

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