A diagnosis of Alzheimer's can be difficult for a child with a disability to understand. It becomes even harder when the affected person is a caregiver or loved one.
Some people with early stage Alzheimer’s may forget words or not remember names. Other than that, you may not notice too many changes. But when you spend time with people in the later stages, it is easy to see that something serious is going on. Some people with the disorder may cry, become angry very easily or behave in ways that embarrass you. Sometimes the person may not remember who you are, even if it is someone like a grandparent who knows you very well. It’s important for children to know that people with Alzheimer’s disease are not acting like this because they don’t care about them anymore.
Children may blame themselves or become angry. They may react in any number of ways to signal their frustration and confusion over the change in routine, behaviors, and forgetfulness of the caregiver or loved one. Find activities your child and the person with Alzheimer’s can enjoy together. Stay engaged and talk with your children honestly about the situation. See if you can find a support group for children. Make their school counselor and social worker aware of the situation your child is dealing with. Encourage the person with Alzheimer’s to keep a written, video or audio record of their thoughts, feelings, and experiences to share with your child. Your children will appreciate their loved one sharing their wisdom and memories.
Support, services and resources are available at Alzheimer’s Association. Support can also be found at the Abilene Regional Office of the North Central Texas Chapter. The office is located at 301 South Pioneer, Suite 105. You may call them at 325-672-2907. Seminars and other learning opportunities, help for caregivers, programs for people with dementia and more are offered by this terrific organization. Check with your local office to learn more.
Be sure to check our page on Find Services, Groups and Events on this website for other resources for caregivers and more.