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Local Advice from a * Local Expert Q: My dad has Alzheimer's and at a recent family get-together, Y. my 8-year-old daughter was hurt and confused when he didn't recognize her. How do I talk to my kids about this? A: Alzheimer's can have a big impact on every member of the family, including children. Each child will react differently to someone who has the disease. The young people in your life might have questions about what's happening, and it's important to answer these questions openly and honestly. It will also help to share with them the changes the disease might bring, now and in the future. Factors that may affect a child include how he or she is related to the person with dementia, how CountryHouse Dickinson close the child is to the person emotionally, and where the person lives. When a family member is living with dementia, your child or teen might feel: Sad about how the person is changing. Curious or worried about how people get the disease. Confused about why the person acts differently or doesn't recognize him or her. Frustrated by the new things it's necessary to do, like repeating words or phrases. Guilty for resenting the time and resources the person requires of the family. Afraid of or embarrassed by the different ways the person may act. Jealous of the additional time and attention given to the person. Unsure how to behave around the person. All these reactions are normal, though it might be difficult to recognize how your child is feeling. Keep in mind that children are resilient and may respond to the situation with few problems. Do encourage your daughter to ask questions. Answer honestly and in a waythat iseasy to understand. In the meantime, let your daughter know her feelings are normal. Sharing simple activities can both reduce anxiety and create joyful moments for both your dad and your daughter. Some great activities that kids can do with a person with dementia include bake cookies, take a walk, plant flowers, color or draw pictures, look at photos, watch reruns of old TV shows together, read a favorite book or story, or go out for ice cream. Tessa Johnson RN, MSN, Director of COUNTRYHOUSE RESIDENCE for memory eare 701.483.2266 | www.countryhouse.net Local Advice from a * Local Expert Q: My dad has Alzheimer's and at a recent family get-together, Y. my 8-year-old daughter was hurt and confused when he didn't recognize her. How do I talk to my kids about this? A: Alzheimer's can have a big impact on every member of the family, including children. Each child will react differently to someone who has the disease. The young people in your life might have questions about what's happening, and it's important to answer these questions openly and honestly. It will also help to share with them the changes the disease might bring, now and in the future. Factors that may affect a child include how he or she is related to the person with dementia, how CountryHouse Dickinson close the child is to the person emotionally, and where the person lives. When a family member is living with dementia, your child or teen might feel: Sad about how the person is changing. Curious or worried about how people get the disease. Confused about why the person acts differently or doesn't recognize him or her. Frustrated by the new things it's necessary to do, like repeating words or phrases. Guilty for resenting the time and resources the person requires of the family. Afraid of or embarrassed by the different ways the person may act. Jealous of the additional time and attention given to the person. Unsure how to behave around the person. All these reactions are normal, though it might be difficult to recognize how your child is feeling. Keep in mind that children are resilient and may respond to the situation with few problems. Do encourage your daughter to ask questions. Answer honestly and in a waythat iseasy to understand. In the meantime, let your daughter know her feelings are normal. Sharing simple activities can both reduce anxiety and create joyful moments for both your dad and your daughter. Some great activities that kids can do with a person with dementia include bake cookies, take a walk, plant flowers, color or draw pictures, look at photos, watch reruns of old TV shows together, read a favorite book or story, or go out for ice cream. Tessa Johnson RN, MSN, Director of COUNTRYHOUSE RESIDENCE for memory eare 701.483.2266 | www.countryhouse.net