Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Keeping kids involved


My daughter loves to cook for my Mom, as I have mentioned it before my Mom has a diagnosis of FTD. We certainly had difficult situations with my Mom and her unruly behavior at times. Either she has a UTI or she has missed her magic pills. She has tossed plates at my kids, has used unkind words when talking to them. But I have always explained to them that Nana is sick, that she can't help herself. They understand and try their best to be flexible with her. My kids have become masters at redirecting my mom.

My 9 yr old daughter loves to bake, and cook. She enjoys cooking breakfast or lunch for my Mom, she makes sure that she can sit down at the table, makes her tea, and gets the meal ready and served for her. I get such a kick when I hear my daughter ask her "have you been drinking enough water today" or "did you take your meds today" to my surprise my Mom doesn't' mind those questions from her. I think it has to do with my daughter being raised in my previous job, I was the activities director at a Day Center for adults with memory impairments. My daughter used to be a frequent visitor, and she would help out with cleaning the tables, serving the continental breakfast, we had this blind gentleman that she used to help feed, usually cheerios. She called bingo and would do the exercise program with our patients.

I think the exposure to that environment has prepared her to deal with Nana's disease. We don't live with my Mom, but whenever we visit for a couple days she enjoys taking care of her Nana. The visits were prior covid19. Right now we call my Mom every day, which she appreciates.

It doesn't' matter if they are related or not, the connection that kids can build with elders is something special, in our memory care unit we used to have young volunteers, it was amazing the positive effect that their visits had. The bond that they would build with our residents was unique. Seeing the residents face light up when they would come in, was amazing, incredibly enough some would recognize their young friends, it was very heartwarming. I have witnessed several situations with volunteers, young and old volunteers, the complete acceptance, tolerance, and respect of the young ones amazes me. Some parents out there are doing an amazing job with their kids, bravo!

Talk to your kids about Alzheimer's and dementia don't be afraid, kids are full of compassion and love, trust me they understand more than you know. More than some adults. Help your kids build that bond with the grandparents, explain the circumstances, teach them to be resilient. 

We are on this bumpy road together, you are not alone!
Be Prepared, Be Informed, Be Empowered.
I send you beams of virtual good vibes.