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How to talk to Nan about Granddad's dementia?

Tigger20

Registered User
Jan 21, 2016
2
Hi everyone, looking for some advice on how to talk to my nan about my granddad's dementia.

My granddad's memory has been declining for a while now and he was recently diagnosed with mixed dementia (he was supposed to go back to the doctors just after Christmas but my nan was ill and they had to cancel). My parents think my nan needs more information and support, however my nan has a habit of not listening to my dad so he's asked me to talk to her instead. I think this is a good idea since me and my nan have a good relationship and while I've been home from university I've been taking her shopping and going to her house to help out as much I can. I've found some information (mainly telephone numbers and stuff) from the Alzheimer's society website and Age Cymru website (my nan doesn't have the internet) but I'm not sure how to approach the subject with my nan. I don't want her to feel like I'm trying to take over.

Any advice on how to talk to my nan about getting her and my granddad more support would be really appreciated, hoping to have a chat with her before going back to university.

Thank you!
 

Onlyme

Registered User
Apr 5, 2010
4,995
UK
Hi Tigger and welcome to Talking Point.

I'm not clear if your Gran already knows his diagnosis.

Until very recently any mental illness was never talked about. As you have realised you are going to have to be really careful how you discuss things with her. She may just hear 'my husband is going to be taken away and locked up' which is obviously not the case but that would have happened when she was young.

Perhaps you could chat about Grandad and ask her what she thinks is wrong with him and how you all are there to help her keep him at home with her as long as possible. She may be frightened and need to chat. I certainly wouldn't give her numbers on the first chat unless she asks.
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
8,768
Yorkshire
Hi Tigger20
a warm welcome from me too
it's lovely that you are so involved with your grandparents and clearly care for them a lot
I'm sure your Nan will appreciate you chatting with her, though I think Onlyme has a good point - go gently as she may be feeling overwhelmed and just need time to take things in - just chat with her so that you can gauge where she is in her thinking and how she feels - you'll then have a better idea of what support she wants and needs
Is there a local Alzheimer's Society branch you can contact to find out if there are any carers' cafes or meetings that you could go to with her - she will meet other carers and be able to chat with them, she may be more comfortable sharing information with them - check with your LA too - and sometimes events are advertised in the local paper
If you've found some useful info on the websites, maybe print off some of the less detailed parts - best not to flood her with factsheets - maybe leave aside the ones about the progression of the dementia, she may not want to be bluntly faced with too much - better to take things one step at a time
Later, let her know that there are ways to apply for allowances to help them with finances and that you'll help her fill in any forms when she's ready. Maybe mention POAs so she knows they exist and would just be her and your granddad's way of giving permission for your family to give them all the support they may need in the future. Don't be too specific until she's ready - she'll ask questions if she wants to know - let her know you'll happily help her with anything so she's confident to chat with you and mention anything she's concerned about - you're already helping out so she knows you are there for her and mean what you say
good on you for being so thoughtful and willing to help
 

Tigger20

Registered User
Jan 21, 2016
2
Thank you

Thanks for the advice both.

Nan knows about his diagnosis, but I think you're right and I'll try a more general chat about how he's doing and what she thinks before talking about other support or giving her any extra information. Really appreciate your help :)