how much to tell a child

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by jellymac, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. jellymac

    jellymac Registered User

    Nov 29, 2014
    62
    West Midlands
    Hi.
    I just wanted to ask advice. I have a 6 year old daughter, who ive told very basic information about my moms Alzheimer's, such as it affects her memory and she forgets things. My mom has gone downhill quite a lot in the last couple of months, she crys quite a lot and she has very little memory. The last couple of weeks i think my daughter has been struggling with her feelings, she gets upset cause nanny doesnt really know who she is (my mom does recognised my dad, sister,brother and myself most of the time) and gets frustrated with my moms crying and behaviour. Ive tried to explain its all down to nannys Alzheimers but i know she finds it hard to understand (not surprisingly), how much is enough to tell a child? I want her to know enough so she can try to understand but i dont want to tell her too much so it upsets/scares her. Any advice would be great. Thank you
     
  2. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    5,678
    Female
    Scotland
    Children are amazingly adaptable but dementia is a big ask for them to deal with. I would do as you have described and explain what is going on but I would also avoid exposing her to too much of her grandmother so that she won't just have memories of odd or unsettling behaviour.

    When my husband was at an earlier stage he could box and play football with our grandsons but now he has little coordination for these things. The boys can see that and don't expect anything of him anymore. They still have good memories though and that is the best you can hope for.
     
  3. Linbrusco

    Linbrusco Registered User

    Mar 4, 2013
    1,549
    Female
    Auckland...... New Zealand
    This is just me, but for a 6yo, you have probably told her as much as she can take in, without as you saying upsetting or scaring her.
    When my husband was diagnosed with a brain tumour 11 yrs ago my son was 6.5yrs.
    I told him the very basics. He didn't cope at all well with the change in the family dynamics, least of all seeing his Dad very sick going through chemotherapy and spending 20hrs out of the day sleeping.
    He had a lot of anger and agression, and I got help through his school social worker.
    Three times a week he was taken out of class for play therapy, and saw a counsellor.
    It took quite a while for that angry phase to pass, but don't know what I would have done otherwise. Our Cancer society helped me with counselling and support where the children were concerned.

    Does your daughter have something similar at school? Do you have support through the Alz Society?

    My children are now 12 & 17. Now with a Grandmother with Alzheimers, there experiences in life at a young age have certainly shaped them into mature, responsible and caring young adults.
     
  4. henfenywfach

    henfenywfach Registered User

    May 23, 2013
    333
    rct
    Hi!..the dementia friends initative has information session geared towards children..there are activities that can be done and like with children if theres a game involved they understand complicated rules.

    Can i suggest you look on dementia friends.org.uk..or email them or ring them..
    Its hard when we are parents to know how much..when how honest and how emotionally they will cope.

    Its clearly our choice as parents as we know them best..what i can say is that when children are in school..they understand more and discuss more mature things than we think..
    Best wishes

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Talking Point mobile app
     
  5. jellymac

    jellymac Registered User

    Nov 29, 2014
    62
    West Midlands
    Thank you all very much for your replies. Linbrusco I think her school does have a teacher that the pupils can talk to about different things concerning in/out of school, i'm not sure of her exact role but I'll find out on Monday, I think that would be a very good idea. Izzy thank you, I have ordered the factsheets today and I do like the look of the books as well, my daughter loves reading so that would probably be good. Marionq thank you, my daughter does see her fairly regularly although a lot of the time she is at school when im with my mom and dad. Its so hard isn't it, I work fri, sat, sun so the other 4 days I either have my mom to give my dad a break or I am at theirs to give my dad company. I desperately want to spend as much time as I can with my mom while she still remembers me and also to help my dad (he wont accept any outside help) but I do need to think about how my daughter copes. I also have a 22 month old daughter who is with me every day I see them, I have thought that she is too young to know any difference with my mom and she treats her the same as everyone else. Do you think this is ok?
     
  6. jellymac

    jellymac Registered User

    Nov 29, 2014
    62
    West Midlands
    Henfenywfach thank you, I will definately have a look at their website
     
  7. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    58,980
    Female
    Dundee
    Jellymac I think it's a good idea to have a chat with someone at the school. I was a primary school headteacher and I know what a difference it made for us to understand what children we're dealing with at home. I'm sure the school will advise on the best way forward.
     
  8. LittleFeet74

    LittleFeet74 Registered User

    Aug 30, 2014
    14
    Jellymac, my son is also 6 and we have talked a lot about what my Dad is going through, and I've explained it much like you have. A few weeks ago there was a programme on CBBC called 'Mr Alzheimer's and me' and it was about children who were dealing with loved suffering from dementia. I watched it with my son and it helped to open the conversation, he also wanted to help make m Dad a memory ok as one of the children did in this programme. We are still doing it, but it is a great way of my son (and me) learning about my Dad's life and who he, I tell my son that the Alzheimer's makes him forget but we can remember all the things he has done for him, and it keeps him close to us. Maybe you can find the programme on bbc iplayer? You're not alone it is so hard to balance, sometimes I feel torn between a good enough daughter and a good enough mother. Hugs to you xxx
     
  9. Izzy

    Izzy Volunteer Moderator

    Aug 31, 2003
    58,980
    Female
    Dundee
  10. jellymac

    jellymac Registered User

    Nov 29, 2014
    62
    West Midlands
    Thank you Littlefeet74 and Izzy, i will deffinately sit with her and watch it later. Littlefeet 74 i love the idea of a memory book, we did a small photobook for my moms birthday last month, my daughter loved looking at all the old photos, i know she would love to do a memory book with more details in. Izzy i am going to see if i can talk to someone at her school tomorrow when i drop her her. It means a lot that people can take time to reply and help
     
  11. lucky

    lucky Registered User

    Apr 29, 2010
    129
    cheshire
    Hi Jelly Mac I was in the same situation with my daughter a few years ago. She is now 9 but I ordered two books for her off Amazon called striped shirts and flowered pants by Barbara Schnurbush. This book is lovely and my daughter still reads it now.
    The other one is Still my grandma by Veronique Van den Abeele it's a lovely book too.
    Hope this helps x Lucky
     
  12. kingybell

    kingybell Registered User

    Feb 3, 2015
    115
    I would say try not to scare her but explain that Nanny forgets things but that's ok because we can help her remember happy times.
    My daughter is 5 and her nanny up until about a year ago was looking after her daily. She knows that her nanny is forgetful but we don't make a big deal of it.
    We laugh lots and play music. As today was Mother's Day we had a nice roast beef dinner and watched mamma Mia which my mil loved because the 70s were her hey day. My daughter likes that film too so they danced round the living room together.

    I would say find a common ground for both of them music or a book that will just help them bond. Who cares about names and who people are just have fun!
     
  13. jellymac

    jellymac Registered User

    Nov 29, 2014
    62
    West Midlands
    Thank you Lucky, ive seen those books and im going to order them, my daughter loves reading so I think they will be great for her. Kingybell thank you, my mom loves dancing, thats one of the few things she takes interest in now, whenever she is at mine I always put the music on and we all dance including my daughter when shes not at school.
     

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