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Alzheimer's: Helping children understand the disease
Be prepared for emotional expression
Your child might express his or her emotions in seemingly indirect ways. For example, he or she might complain of headaches or other physical issues. Your child's attention to schoolwork might begin to slide. If you're caring for your loved one in your home, your child might be reluctant to invite friends to the house — or he or she might look for ways to spend time away from home.
If you notice these types of behaviors, gently point out what you've observed — and offer your child comfort and support. Listen to your child's concerns, and help your child feel safe in sharing his or her feelings.
To help your child stay connected to the person who has Alzheimer's, involve both of them in familiar activities — such as setting the table together. Shared leisure time is important, too. Even young children can stay connected with a loved one who has Alzheimer's by paging through photo albums, listening to music or doing other simple activities together.
If your child becomes impatient with your loved one, remind your child that the behavior isn't intentional — it's a result of the disease. Together, focus on finding ways to show your loved one how much you love him or her. Even if your loved one forgets your child's name, he or she can still feel love and kindness.Previous page
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- Talking to kids and teens. Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_talking_to_kids_and_teens.asp. Accessed Feb. 24, 2012.
- Just for children: Helping you understand Alzheimer's disease. http://www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_just_for_kids_and_teens.asp. Accessed Feb. 24, 2012.
- Just for teens: Helping you understand Alzheimer's disease. http://www.alz.org/living_with_alzheimers_just_for_kids_and_teens.asp. Accessed Feb. 24, 2012.