With summer vacation season in full swing, many families will include trips to visit grandparents in their vacation plans. Whether grandparents live in their own home or at a senior living community, it’s an opportunity to spend family time with grandchildren from out of town.
Sometimes, children who see grandparents infrequently observe changes that are unfamiliar to them. If a grandparent has dementia, children might be confused or fearful when he or she says something strange or can’t remember names and places. Understanding and facing a loved one’s dementia is difficult for adults; the feelings it can create in children are even stronger. By preparing them before the visit, parents can help them comprehend the situation and lessen the fear surrounding someone they love.
Reading children’s books about grandparents with dementia is an excellent way to help a child understand a grandparent’s condition. It also can let children know they aren’t the only ones who are dealing with this experience.
Our Executive Director of Memory Support Services and father of three children, Joel Kroft reviewed and provides insights on several children’s books based on their content and age-appropriateness, including “Still My Grandma,” “The Memory Box” and best-selling author Maria Shriver’s “What’s Happening to Grandpa?” For a list of those recommended books, click here. At that same link, we have a free bookmark providing tips for kids on visiting loved ones with dementia. To order a bookmark, complete and submit the form at the bottom of the above children’s books web page.
We also have a new children’s activity book, “The Unforgettable Adventures of Grandma’s Cape,” to help children better comprehend a grandparent’s Alzheimer’s disease. Argentum, the leading national senior living association, has just awarded our book a “Best of the Best Award” for being an innovative program. You may obtain this free book at the main desk of any of our 11 locations of Country Meadows Retirement Communities or complete a request form here.
Lastly we have a tip sheet on “Talking to Your Children about Dementia,” to help kids cope with new feelings and situations, as well as ones on “Successful Visits with a Loved One with Dementia” and “Creating Meaningful Moments with a Loved One with Dementia” for adults as well as children.
For residents of our personal care or assisted living homes who need memory care support, our Connections Memory Support Services provides assistance to them and their families. Our specially trained staff cares for the whole person using personalized support plans, customized exercise programs and intellectual stimulation.
If you feel your loved one might benefit from our Connections program, we recommend that you view this video. You may determine that his or her needs could be met by memory support services delivered within our active senior living community, rather than a nursing home or long-term care facility.
Whether you need memory care support or are more interested in independent living apartments for seniors, please contact us. If you are thinking of choosing a retirement community, we can tell you all about Country Meadows and give you a tour of any of our Pennsylvania or Maryland retirement homes including Lancaster, York, Pittsburgh and the Lehigh Valley, PA; Frederick, MD and more.