Advice re children and later stage dementia =o(

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by scared daughter, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. scared daughter

    scared daughter Account Closed

    May 3, 2010
    Hi guys

    I have been reading posts but unable to post for a while - things just were over whelming. My mums behavior ranged from violent and dangerous to suicidal she was sectioned a few times.

    In my last few posts I am pretty sure I told you my children were no longer taken to see her, she would scream and shout and throw cans at anyone including them.....

    However now as this terrible disease has progressed my mum is quieter, unable to recognise people properly all the time.................and I can see this is her slipping from us.

    I am tempted to take my children to see her now, she hasn't been violent for a long time, and if she does get cross her concentration goes so quickly it is like a passing strom in a tea cup.

    Has anyone else been throught his? My youngest child is 9 ranging tot he eldest who has alredy been to see her with me at 21. Am I risking really upsetting my younger child? It kind of feels like a last chance though
  2. Nanak

    Nanak Registered User

    Mar 25, 2010
    Brisbane Australia
    Hi Scared Daughter
    My Grandsons were 8 and 6 last year when my Mother in Law was in the last stages of dementia.
    They visited the Care Home occasionally and coped very well. My daughter never stayed long but the boys would give Gran a kiss and say hello (I don't know if she knew who they were).
    I think children cope better than we do.
    I would give it a try and be prepared for anything in case you have to make a hasty exit :eek:. Your son is old enough to understand that your Mum is ill so just play it by ear. If at any time your son is uncomfortable then you don't have to take him again.
    Good luck
    missing what has gone and scared of what is to come
  3. Mun

    Mun Registered User

    Mar 19, 2012
    South Yorkshire
    #3 Mun, Apr 20, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
    In the past when my sister payed a visit to see our dad with her children,A aged 8 & W aged 12,clearly A was a bit scared of her grandad although he never spoke to her or did anything to frighten her,I think it was just how he looked..... abit wild,unshaven,hair not combed & she was reluctant to go near him during their stay,whereas W seemed to take it in his stride.
    I think children very much take their cues from the adults around them,if we give the impression that nothing in that situation bothers or frightens us then the child feels more able to cope with that particular visit.

    Val x
  4. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    If you take your children to see her now, will the memory they're left with be better than the last? If she was violent and scary before, and they can maybe see that now she's just a poor old thing - it was the illness and she couldn't help it - maybe it would be good.

    However, only you know your own children and how they might react.
    Mine were in at least early teens before we had any dementia in the family, so I'm not sure what I'd do re younger ones.
  5. sussexsue

    sussexsue Registered User

    Jun 10, 2009
    West Sussex
    There obviously is no right or wrong answer. I would firstly ask

    "would it benefit your mum ?" and "would it benefit your children ?"

    Unless I was certain the answer was yes to both these questions, then I would avoid the situation altogether.

    I would dismiss the "last chance" idea, as the person who was their real granny, who they will hopefully remember, is probably long gone. At 21 your eldest child can probably cope and hopefully support you as well. However it is asking a lot of the younger ones.

  6. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I would ask the children. Perhaps your 9 year old wants to see your Mum. At least a discussion of the disease and how it has affected her would be a good idea, in my opinion.

    Children can be remarkably tough sometimes. I do think it's fair to ask - 9 is young but he/she may want to see their grandmother.
  7. Butter

    Butter Registered User

    Jan 19, 2012
    I was taken to see everybody - however ill they were - from the day I was born. I am sure that was the right thing to do and it is what I've done with my children until they were old enough to be consulted. I reckon you can consult/discuss with children from the age of about 7. But you do need to talk it though beforehand and after. And sometimes long long after. And then they should be making up their minds for themselves by the time they are 16-18.
    None of my nephews seem to be 'allowed' to visit their grandmother in her CH. They are 12, 14 and 15. I know the middle one keeps asking to go. I feel quite strongly children need to be involved in the whole family - not just the 'presentable' parts. Otherwise how can they learn about us? How we are. How we grow old. How we die.
    My father's father was a doctor and some of my father's happiest memories are of going with his father on his ward rounds when he was 4. His father ran a big hospital in Burma so it will not have been 'pretty'.
    Maybe you think I am quite wrong - I also believe children should be included in funerals. However, I do emphasise my view that we should listen to children. When my dearest childhood friend was killed in a road accident her children were taken to see her. The little one was 6 and she made it perfectly clear she did not want to go and she did not want to see her mother's body. She was made to go. I think that was a mistake.
  8. jeany123

    jeany123 Registered User

    Mar 24, 2012
    I can remember when I was about 5 or 6 my mother taking me a few times to see a old neighbour who was in a CH, she said and did strange things but I was never frightened and used to look forward to going
  9. eastiesgir

    eastiesgir Registered User

    Oct 9, 2011
    Obviously all children are different but if I was in your position I would take my daughter. I think that I would prefer her to remember that Grandma was very ill and that when the end does come that she sees it as some sort of release for her, even though we will all be very upset (to say the least).
    Would it be possible if you had another adult close by who could whisk the children off after a short time? It may be better if you keep the visits short for a while while they adjust to all the change.
    take care
  10. scared daughter

    scared daughter Account Closed

    May 3, 2010
    Thank you so much guys, so many experiences. I'm popping to see mum today and am going to chat to one of my old school friends about this. I live a long drive from her and I think I may have my pal as a "back up plan" shes theyoungests godmother and will be able to take them if they either don't want to go.

    I know my mum would like to see them but it wouldn't last as her memory is so transient now..................but my childrens last memories of granny were not good, they dont dwell on it and i send them csards and presents from her. I have asked them and only the youngest wasn't sure so I think I will play it by ear.

    But thanks guys xxxx
  11. Katrine

    Katrine Registered User

    Jan 20, 2011
    #11 Katrine, Apr 21, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2012
    I know we family carers tend to scoff at adult relatives and so-called-friends who refuse to visit and say "I prefer to remember her as she was". Perhaps for children it is better to accept this? Though if the 'as she was' was a nasty time, then if her behaviour has now improved then it might be reassuring to have a better experience of visiting at the present time?

    This thread has made me think again about whether to make greater efforts to get my children to see their grandmothers. They are all young adults. My daughter is very involved with her dad's mother and helps a lot with supporting her. My sons never visit her independently. They love her, but seem scared of visiting her and only see her on family social occasions.

    None of my children have seen my mother since my father's funeral 5 years ago, which was before she developed dementia. She does live 500 miles away and it is expensive to visit, and also difficult because of their work commitments. But really they could do it if they really wanted to. They all admit to being unwilling to see her in her changed state, plus they have unhappy memories of her past behaviour and how nasty she was to me whenever we visited as a family. I would like them to see how sweet and gentle she is now, even though she is frail and confused. I am sure they will drop everything for her funeral, but shouldn't they make an effort before that happens?

    With regard to younger children, I don't think they should be made to visit someone who will upset them. My mother told me that when she was taken to visit her old grannie she was very scared and also felt guilty about these negative feelings because she knew she was expected to feel loving towards her grandmother. Her grannie was crippled with arthritis and all my mum saw was someone who looked like a witch, with long yellow grey hair, sitting hunched in bed with her clawed hands and long nails, which was frightening. She didn't look like the grandmother she remembered from her early childhood and it was a shocking experience.
  12. scared daughter

    scared daughter Account Closed

    May 3, 2010
    Thank you for your reply, some of my children are coming next weekend with me the youngest looked scared and asked if granny would be angry...........

    My youngest will spend the day with her other grannie and my school friend will come with me and be able to walk the children out to an ice cream parlour if mums mood isnt quite right :(

    I am torn between what of this need is me thinking I should do it - and what will benefit both my mum and everyone else.

    If only life came with an instruction manual = it would be so much easier !
  13. lisarobs

    lisarobs Registered User

    Apr 10, 2012
    my mums in a care home with dementia and her eyes light up when my children visted also its nice for others that dont see anyone
  14. fizzie

    fizzie Registered User

    Jul 20, 2011
    I really agree that if you think your children will be OK then try it. It will definitely boost the morale of the home - staff and the other residents and I still believe that at some level there is an understanding even in the later stages.

    I really feel for you. We all hoped we wouldn't have to face these situations and here we all are coping and relying on each other for support.

    Whatever you decide you are doing the best that you can. My children (12 and 15) cope well with my Mum who is still living at home, most of the time but sometimes she can be really unpleasant - not good but in the longer term I am glad that they have experienced all the stages and have an understanding of dementia.

    Take care of yourselves, good luck
  15. Nutty Nan

    Nutty Nan Registered User

    Nov 2, 2003
    Just a thought ....

    .... would it help if each of the children had something to take along, perhaps a drawing, a photograph, a soft toy, a homemade cupcake or cookie, a silky scarf or similar to give to grandma? That would give you an opening for conversation, something tangible to focus on, rather than just sitting there and waiting for something to happen.
    People in care homes rarely have enough initiative to start (or sustain) chatting, which can be a bit difficult.
    I do think children should be included, if possible. They can bring a lot of joy to all the residents in a CH, which is rewarding in itself.
    A lesson in life, perhaps?
    Good luck to you all!
  16. Hannah B

    Hannah B Registered User

    Mar 16, 2012
    Taking children to see grandma

    Sometimes my son or daughter take their children to see my mum in the CH. They range in age from 2 months to 6 years old. We have had good visits and my mum loves to see them. We have also had bad visits, not because of my mum, but some of the other residents have scared the 4 year old. One lady grabbed hold of the 4 year olds arm and wouldn't let go. The lady was nearly pulled over by the child and I had to intervene so there wasn't an accident. We have told the children that the people who live in the CH see the world differently to us and have told them to stay close to us and not wander off. Another occasion was when the 11 month old got a fright and started crying and a lady screamed 'shut up', which made the baby worse.
    I think my daughter has been put off by these incidents and doesn't go very often with her children and my son only visits occasionally.
    It's very difficult to decide what's best! :confused:
  17. imp

    imp Registered User

    Jun 26, 2009
    Hi all, we have been taking my great grandchildren to see grandad since he was admitted to a nursing home. They have come to accept the change that is taking place and the way that his face lights up when they arrive is a joy to see. Each one was given the option of coming or not and they all chose to at that time they were aged 9, 8, and 7 (all different branches of the family) and now the new additions of 4 and 5 look forward to seeing him too. It is really up to how the child reacts, if there was any sign of distress they would be taken out. The staff always makes them welcome and they are allowed to hand round biscuits or cakes when tea is served. Each family has to make their own decision about this subject but mainly the children themselves. Best wishes Iris
  18. CraigC

    CraigC Registered User

    Mar 21, 2003
    #18 CraigC, Apr 25, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
    Iris, I think that is the key.
    If the children are involved early on and see the progression it can be easier (not easy by any means) to deal with the later stages. Children are very accepting but I do feel that if they had missed the early progression it may be a shock.

    The other important point you mentioned is choice. I'd have had a fight on my hands if I'd tried to stopped my daughter. But what works for some families does not work for others. Dad's face would also light up when the grandchildren visited, just even to hear my daughters voice. In fact having any children in the home lit up many of the residents faces. Kids can make someone with dementia's life so much richer - it seems a shame for anyone to be locked up exclusively in an adult world, particularly in later years.

    Just my thoughts.
  19. Farmergirl

    Farmergirl Registered User

    May 24, 2011
    I dont take mine to visit mum now. The oldest is detached and can cope but says - why bother - she's not my gran - she's someone else living in grans body, the other finds her scary (he's 14), and is paranoid that its hereditory and that we'll all be mad when we're old.
    I had a chat with him and he got very upset, throwing his arms round me begging me not to 'go like gran'. I dont even ask them now.
  20. rosaliesal

    rosaliesal Registered User

    Nov 15, 2009
    Gut reaction is usually right

    My mum at 85 loved her 4 year old grandhild and played with her as if she too was a child. I gained by watching and learning that a child loves to play games not just be looked after. When mum became bedridden my grandchild wanted to run up to see her and |I found myself sayingNana is very tired at the moment". However, I knew that I did not want her to see mum's deterioration. I knew that I wanted her to always have happy memories of her not bad ones and I feel I did the right thing. Each person must make these difficult decisions based on their gut reaction and that of the child. I know they gave each other such pleasure and great happiness for a long time but the time came to gradually release that bond ready for the final day, which did arrive.


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