Talking to others about dementia
Involve the child. Try to find ways to involve the child in providing care, or just allow them to spend time with the person. This can help to make the situation seem more normal and prevents a feeling of being left out. However, it is important to let them continue with their normal lives so do not give them too much responsibility.
Talk to teachers or counselors. Involving to many people in the disease might feel overwhelming. However, it can a good idea to talk to teachers or school counselors about what the child is going through. In that way, the environment can respond more appropriately to the child’s behavior.
Talking to pre-school children. Children at this age are mostly interested in what is going on right now. Explain dementia as simply as you can – tell them that the person might not remember everything you have talked about, or that they might lose things.
Talking to children in primary school age. Children in primary school can be very honest and ask difficult questions. However, encourage them to ask questions and talk about how they feel even if it is difficult to answer every question. From around age eight or nine, children are able to understand more difficult concepts, among them illness and death. This can result in bad dreams, aches or pains that do not seem to have a cause. Such behavior can be a sign that the child is trying to hide their feelings. It is important to listen to their worries.
Talking to teenagers. Try to allow teenagers the time and space to come to terms with the dementia diagnosis. Teenage years can be difficult. They may not show their emotions and may be easily embarrassed. Show them you are here to listen, but do not force them talk about their feelings if they do not want to.
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