You can never forget the first time your grandparents doesn't recognize you. It is heartbreaking. You might feel hurt, and your relationship could change. You might struggle with being around someone who looks like your loved one but doesn't talk or act like them.
It is hard to imagine a pain worse than watching someone you love fail to recognize you and treat you like a stranger.
That is why if one or both of your parents are living with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia, and it's starting to make them have difficulties recognizing names and people, you should prepare your kids. They need to know their grandparents will likely not register who they are and how to deal with it, so they aren't hurt, alarmed, or frustrated when visiting them for the holidays in Spring Hill.
But how do you explain it to them?
Explain What Is Happening and Why
Many adults don't tell their children to try and preserve their children's relationship with their grandparents. But if you don't explain why they are losing their memories, they will reach their own – often frightening – conclusion.
Tell them this year's holiday visit could be quite different because your parent is sick. They have a disease that hurts their memory, making it hard to remember names and faces. Explain that the part of their brain that holds some words, names, and faces is affected. Assure them it is just a disease, and they can't catch it.
Depending on their age, you can go into detail about why it happens by explaining how Alzheimer's damages the brain leading to memory loss, paranoia and delusions, delirium, and vision loss.
Explain That Their Grandparent Is Still in There
Although it may hurt that their grandparent doesn't recognize them, they may find relief knowing that their grandparent still exists. They may not be able to put together all the puzzle pieces, but they still feel emotions.
The love they shared and the energy between them go beyond memory and physical things. They still love and adore their grandkids, even when they cannot express it.
Although some of the things your kids used to do with their grandparents, such as baking or going for strolls, are no longer possible, they can still enjoy them. Recommend new ways to simplify them. For example, using a mix instead of baking from scratch is one method you can recommend.
Tips on How to Cope During the Visit
Even if your children understand the disease, what to expect, and how to act, it can still be hard to cope. Give them the tips below to help them cope.
- Don't take it personally if they remember some family members but not you.
- If they don't recall your names or faces, introduce yourself when you walk into the room by saying something like, "Hi, Grandpa/Grandma, I'm Michael, your oldest grandchild."
- Meet them where they are by not correcting them. If they mistake you for, say, your cousin, ask them something like, "Ok, tell me about her/him." It can be quite upsetting to learn you have lost such an intimate detail about your life.
- Use their words and phrases to describe things to help them recall.
- Show them photos and videos of family and friends to reminisce together. It may trigger their memory to recall other items as well.
These tips will ensure they have a lovely time when visiting their grandparent for the holidays in Spring Hill.
Make Your and Your Loved One's Life Much Easier Through Senior Helpers of Spring Hill
Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia lead to memory loss and behavior changes that can change the relationship between two close family members. But it doesn't have to sour it. Helping your kids understand why it is happening to their grandparents, and the best way to handle it will enable them to develop the right attitude and maintain a good relationship.
If your parent with Alzheimer's lives in Spring Hill, Florida, Senior Helpers of Spring Hill can help you care for them. We are the premier provider of non-medical in-home senior care in Nature Coast – Hernando, Pasco, and Citrus Counties.
Our services include specialized care for those with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Dementia, and other chronic diseases. You can trust us to make your and your loved one's life much easier and enjoyable. Through our proprietary Senior Gems® method, techniques, and strategies, we will focus on what is precious and unique about your loved one.
Contact us today to begin your parent's in-home specialized care.