Tips for talking to Children about Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a complicated and often intimidating one that can leave the most educated minds racing with questions. Therefore it’s no surprise that children may struggle with this particularly as it can be a lot to take in and understand.

We’ve put together some tips for dealing with this illness and talking to your children about it to hopefully make those tough discussions a little easier for them and for you. 

Try and keep things as simple as possible
Obviously depending on the age of your child, you will no doubt go into a different level of detail with them regarding the illness, what it is and what it entails. Don’t be afraid to keep things simple if you are struggling to explain and just tell them how it affects your loved one, rather than the science of it (though if they do ask further, it can be great for them to go into further detail). 
Be visual and use illustration examples
Explaining to your children what Alzheimer’s disease is can be made a lot easier if you can find useful visual tools and aids to illustrate it more clearly to them, as children thrive from visual examples. There’s a fantastic image here which signifies memory loss and can spark a really interesting conversation with your little ones. 
Involve the person’s caregiver to offer extra info and advice
If your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease has assisted living with Extra Care at Home or other great companies, it may be a really good idea to ask the caregiver for their advice when talking to children about the illness as they’re likely to have dealt with those issues in the past. They may even be willing to talk to the child or children themselves too which can provide a good insight. 
Encourage them to ask questions
They’ll no doubt have lots of questions along the way at various points, and it’s important that they feel comfortable enough to be able to voice them. This is another good way to avoid social faux pas or general slightly awkward moments which of course they won’t intend to create but are sometimes inevitable, especially with a topic like this.
Aim to keep the relationship between them going
It can often be quite tempting to refrain from taking your child to visit someone with an illness as complex as Alzheimer’s but you shouldn’t be tempted to give up and end the relationship. In fact, keeping the relationship as constant and similar as it always was can actually be a real comfort to the child and will help them learn a lot, too. 
Help them if they feel frustrated
They’re likely to struggle with the situation just as much as you, especially as they may not understand exactly what is going on, regardless of how many times you explain it to them. Remaining as calm as possible and being there for them when they are feeling particularly frustrated is really important. 

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