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Explaining Alzheimer’s Disease to Small Children

By Jennifer Thompson, 9:00 am on

Talking to small children about Alzheimer’s disease may seem incredibly difficult because they are young and may not understand what’s happening to a beloved grandparent or senior family member. However, there are ways to help a child understand the disease and feel involved in the care of your senior loved one. Providers of at-home care in Nashville hope family caregivers will find the following guidelines helpful when explaining Alzheimer’s disease to a small child.

The first thing to do is have an honest conversation with the child about what is going on without overloading him or her with too much complicated information. Scientific details can make Alzheimer’s disease too complicated for kids to understand, but too little information can cause the child to come up with his or her own conclusions, which might be wildly inaccurate. It’s important to incorporate a steady balance of simple but adequate information so the child understands what Alzheimer’s is without burdening him or her with complicated jargon. Explain that your loved one may be forgetful or even upset at times but that it’s not anyone’s fault, least of all the child’s.

Explain that Alzheimer’s disease is an illness of the brain and that doctors and Nashville caregivers are doing everything they can to make your loved one feel safe and comfortable. Tell your child how your senior loved one still enjoys hugs and regular visits, and is still an important part of the family. Reassure your child that no matter what changes occur, he or she can still remember the good times and make new memories with your senior loved one.

Make sure your small child knows that Alzheimer’s disease:

  • Is not contagious
  • May make the loved one forget or act differently, but that he or she means nothing by it
  • Is not the child’s fault or responsibility

Remember that as the disease changes, so may the child’s response to it. Pay attention to cues from your child and answer new questions as they come up to help your child adapt. Seniors will also need help getting used to Alzheimer’s disease, and Home Care Assistance can help. We provide comprehensive Alzheimer’s care Nashville families can trust, which helps seniors age gracefully in the comfort of home. In addition to personal care and housekeeping, our expertly trained caregivers offer emotional support and companionship to seniors and their families as they adjust to an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. To learn more about our flexible care services and schedule a free consultation, call us today at (615) 656-4999 and speak with an experienced Care Manager.