Alzheimer's disease in loved ones affects the entire family, including your children. Find tips on how to talk to your children about Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia in the UK. One in 14 people over the age of 65 are thought to be affected and the prevalence of Alzheimer’s for people over the age of 80 rises to 1 in 6. Experts believe that these numbers could double in the next 20 years. Although most people are diagnosed after age 65, a growing number experience early onset Alzheimer's disease, which is typically seen in people as young as 50.
With these statistics, chances are high that Alzheimer's disease will touch your family in some way. You might feel sadness and worry over the changes you see in a beloved parent. If you're part of the ‘sandwich generation’ and a primary caregiver, you might experience financial, emotional, and physical stress as you attend to your loved ones needs. Alzheimer's disease affects the whole family, including children.
How to Talk to Children about Alzheimer's
As parents, we often wonder how to help our children understand the effects of Alzheimer's disease on their grandparents or close family members when diagnosed. Although every family is unique, you'll probably need to address the question of Alzheimer's directly and honestly. Work as a family to develop a plan for caring for your loved one. Doing so not only reduces stress, but creates an environment in which our children can learn empathy, teamwork, and compassion. Below are a few ideas for how to talk to children about Alzheimer's disease:
A diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease brings challenges and changes for families, but it doesn't have to be catastrophic. Open and honest communication can help you navigate this difficult time successfully.
Alzheimer’s Association: A Parent’s Guide – Helping Children and Teens Understand Alzheimer’s Disease