Helping Utah Children Cope When Their Grandparent Is Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease

The bond between a child and their grandparent is something truly magical. They have the best of times together, and these memories will stay close forever. So, when something changes, especially when it is a major thing like an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, life is going to feel different. As the person in the middle, your head will be filled with worry for both your own parent and your child. These are some ways to navigate this situation for everyone involved.

Talk to Them in Age-Appropriate Language

When it comes to explaining big concepts to kids, it has to be with language that they can absorb and digest. If you have young children of pre-school age, for instance, the words you say will be less clinical and more story focused. For older children like teens, you can stick with the facts and answer their questions to stave off misinformation and spiraling. Make it clear that the narrative is as open as they need it to be and that you will be available to come back to the conversation when they feel ready.

Find a Book and Read it Often

There are some great literature options to help the conversation along. Research the books and the authors and buy a few that you think will enable them to understand and process better.

Make Sure They Get to Visit

Making sure your child and their grandparent get face time together is an important part of protecting their relationship and supporting both sides through this big change, and the environment will play a big part in this. Facilitating visits will be easier if their grandparent is in a great community like Spring Gardens Senior Living in Lindon, UT which has a family friendly focus.

Be There During and After Contact Times

It will be difficult to recalibrate after a visit, and this is when you must be present both mentally and physically. They may have questions, big feelings, and even lash out and that is all a part of the natural trajectory of dealing with an emotive situation.

Show Them Pictures and Share Memories

Talking about the wonderful times is highly therapeutic. Show your children pictures of your own childhood and talk, talk, talk about all the memories you have of your parents so they can share their own journey in a positive frame as well.

Lead By Example: Emotional Regulation

The most impactful thing you can do as a parent helping a child through a difficult transition that also affects you emotionally is to practice and model regulation. There will be tough days ahead for everyone, and how you hold yourself through it will be a great comfort and example to your children.

An Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis will never be easy to navigate when children are so close to their grandparent. As the person in the middle, you must find ways to nurture your dependents and facilitate the relationship to carry on for as long as possible. This will mean protecting your own mental health as well as being there for everyone too.

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