When a grandparent, aunt, uncle or other relative of early stage dementia, it can be tempting to “hide” the condition from children. For very young kids, they may not need to know all the details, but there is no reason to keep your kids from spending time with their loved one. In fact, when children spend time with a dementia patient, it can benefit them both.
We’ve put together four ways that your kids can battle dementia and help a much-loved older relative or friend stay young at heart.
Dementia patients and their caregivers are sometimes so focused on the day-to-day living and medical issues that things like gets pushed to the wayside. If your children are able to spend time with an older relative, they may be able to encourage the individual to get moving without it feeling like work or effort.
Support Memory Recall
One of the best ways to help an older individual keep his mind sharp is to have him recall memories. Telling stories about his youth or the “good old days” can be an excellent way to recall these memories in a way that is fun for everyone. Best of all, your child isn’t going to know if the stories are a little off, so if memories aren’t 100% sharp, no one will mind. Encouraging is another way to give the brain a workout too.
An awesome way for a child to connect with an older relative or friend is by reading books and stories. Your child will get practice reading and the dementia patient gets the mental boost that comes from hearing an interesting tale. Whether you choose an old fairy tale or a more modern story, these stories are an excellent way to connect and keep sharp.
If there is one thing that kids like, it is art. Art therapy is a way to enhance the quality of life for dementia patients. Art has been shown to improve concentration, and give a sense of accomplishment. Therefore, if your child can work together with his or her older relative or friend on an art project, everyone will be happy.
As you can see, there are many great ways for kiddos to help battle dementia. While it may be a little scary for everyone at first, encouraging the relationships between young and old can be a huge benefit for everyone involved.