If you have an aging parent and young children, you likely have a number of difficult tasks to handle in your personal life. If you have a parent residing in an assisted living community in El Cajon due to issues with Alzheimers and Dementia you likely have even more stress to cope with. One especially difficult task you may have to handle is explaining to your young children why their grandparent’s behavior may be erratic or confusing to them. This is a difficult conversation to have with a young child but helping them understand why their grandparent lives in a luxury retirement community in El Cajon will go a long way towards ensuring your child can cope with the impact this disease is having on their loved one. Here are a few tips for how to help your child understand Alzheimers and Dementia.
Children are incredibly perceptive. In fact, they may even be more in tune with what is going on than we are. So, if you are feeling sad or stressed over your parent’s condition, it is almost certain that your child has noticed. This is why it is not helpful to lie to your child about why their grandparent needs special memory care in Santee. Instead, have an open and honest conversation with your child about their grandparent’s condition and what it means for them. Give them an opportunity to ask any questions they might have. If your child asks you a question you don’t have the answer to, that’s ok! It’s important to be honest about this as well. Let your child know that while you don’t have all the answers, you can find more information for them and do what it takes to help them understand the current situation.
Acknowledge And Accept Their Feelings
As your child tries to process this information about a close loved one, it is normal for them to have some emotional responses. They may feel sad, angry, confused or scared. These emotions might be quite strong and it is possible that your child will act out as you have a conversation around the health of their grandparent. This is normal and it is important to give your child an opportunity to express the emotions that they are feeling without judgment.
Often a sick grandparent is a child’s first time coping with illness. So, one conversation around the situation likely won’t be enough. This situation may have a long term impact on your child and you may start to notice behavioral changes over time. Again, this is quite normal. The most important thing to do is keep open lines of communication between you and your child so that they continue to feel comfortable having conversations with you about the ways in which they are struggling. If you feel that your parent’s illness and the stress it is causing on your family is beginning to impact important factors in your child’s life like friendships and performance at school, it might be worth looking at bringing in a professional to help your child. A social worker, therapist or counselor can help your child navigate the situation they are in so that it doesn’t create a long term negative impact.
Don’t Forget To Support Yourself
Often, children of aging parents can become so invested in caring for both their parents and their children that they forget to support themselves. Don’t allow this to happen. While you may feel like your children and your aging parent are the most important responsibilities on your plate, it’s also important to remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Do a few things each week that allow you to recharge and decompress so that you can continue to provide support for your children and your parent.
Maintain A Connection
There is no doubt that when a grandparent is dealing with Alzheimers or Dementia it will absolutely impact the relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild. There is almost no way to avoid this. However, there are many ways that a parent can foster the relationship between the grandchild and grandparent in a way that is beneficial to both parties.
For example, perhaps the illness has progressed far enough that the grandparent can’t remember the grandchild every time they see each other. But, that doesn’t mean that the grandparent might not enjoy some company and an activity. Explain to your child that although their grandparent might not have their memory, there is still an opportunity to spend time together and bond in a different way. Your child will still look back fondly on the opportunities they had to spend time with their grandparent even if it was a little bit different than the ways they used to spend time together.
Tailor Your Strategy
If you have more than one child, know that it is very normal for each child to have a very different response to their grandparent’s illness. This is especially true if the children are of different ages. For example, a teenager might feel embarrassed or awkward around their ill parent. Conversely, a younger child may feel more confused. Allow each child to have their own unique response and tailor your strategy and approach to each one of them. Maybe one child will want to visit more often than the other. This is okay, be sure to allow for these differences. Neither response is correct or incorrect.
There is no doubt that providing care for an aging parent who has a failing memory can be difficult but a luxury retirement or assisted living community in El Cajon can help you navigate your parent’s illness. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and seek support, there is no shame in this. Alzheimers and Dementia are complicated and finding support from experienced professionals will help ensure that both you, your parent and your children are able to get through this time.