Today’s Tuesday Tips for Caregivers™ is all about how to help children have fun with someone that has Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Being around children can actually be fun for someone with a memory impairment. It gives the person someone younger to talk with who may bring back happy memories. It can also help the person realize how much he or she is loved and how much they can still love others.
Here are some of our favorite tips that the person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia might enjoy doing with children:
- Play a simple board game – Think about games that the person with memory loss might have played long ago and that the child might also like! Candy Land, Chutes and Ladders, the game of Life etc.
- Read books or stories – The person with memory loss may still have the ability to read a story, or they might enjoy having the child read a story to them. They can also try reading it out loud together, and taking turns.
- Visit family members who might also have small children.
- Take a walk in the park or around the school yard. Make a game of it! Bring a jar to collect rocks or gather flowers.
- Go to a school sports event or other event that involves young people.
- Look at photo albums of when the child was a baby or family albums that include the person with memory loss.
- Have the child ask grandma or grandma tell them a story. The person with dementia might have good memories of their own childhood and stories they can share.
- Bake cookies. (with supervision and only if safe)
- Color in coloring books.
- Cuddle up and watch cartoons, Animal Planet or other short feature.
Sometimes young children are afraid of the changes they may see in the person with memory loss. Children can be sensitive and are very intuitive. If your child is showing signs that they are frightened or reluctant to interact or spend time with their grandparent, there are some wonderful books available that can help.
Here are some books we recommend for younger children:
- What’s Happening to Grandpa by Maria Shriver
- Grandma’s Cob Webs by Ann Frantti
- Striped Shirts and Flowered Pants: A Story about Alzheimer’s Disease for Young Children By Barbara Schnurbush
- The Memory Box by Albert Whitman
- Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator? An Explanation of Alzheimer’s Disease for Children By Max Wallack
- Always My Grandpa: A Story for Children about Alzheimer’s Disease By Linda Scacco
- Still My Grandma By Veronique Van Den Abeele
- Saturdays with GG By Dwayne J Clark
If you would like additional help or guidance on how to help young children have fun with the person with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, call the Alzheimer’s Care Resource Center at 561-588-4545