This video, created by Sunny Rae Keller, a young child with a grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s, says what I could never attempt to write here. The innocent love of children can do wonders to show us what is really important in this battle we fight. Once you have finished drying your eyes, read on to find out ways to involve your children in eldercare. Great blessings await you all if you embrace this powerful relationship.
Are They Being Ripped Off?
It’s easy to get caught up in the mindset that our children are really the ones who got “ripped off” when our parents are suffering from dementia or another aging ailment. I know I have heard these exact words from friends who are in this situation, and I could understand that feeling completely.
- They don’t have a grandparent that is “all there”.
- They never got to meet the “real grandma or grandpa”.
- Their free time is tied up with taking care of someone rather than just having fun …
But most kids don’t feel that way. We are robbing our children of a life-changing and character forming opportunity with this understandable, but misleading attitude. The song above is evidence of how our children still love fiercely in the face of the ugly beast of aging illnesses.
I love watching how my siblings involve their children in caring for our parents. My son was grown up and out of state by the time my dad’s Alzheier’s had reached the intervention point. But my siblings with younger children were torn daily between daily homework and soccer games and attending to my parents’ needs. Their stress was definitely greater than mine in this arena and it was such a blessing to watch the many creative ways they involved their kids.
How Can the Kids Help?
- Shopping, cooking and general chores can be more fun when little kids are empowered to help and really feel as if they are contributing to grandma/grandpa’s lives
- Involving the kids in creating photo montages, either on a poster board or via technology is real fun for the kids and the grandparents
- Taking the parents to your daily sporting, dance and scouting events is good for everyone and maximizes the use of everyone’s time
- Thinking of field trips to go to that all may enjoy: the zoo, museums, parks…. Something for everyone. Check with your local library for discounts to area attractions. There are loads!
- Be sure to include music in your kids’ interactions with their grandparents. They can share with each other their favorite songs and you can throw in your classic rock n roll favorites too!
- Lots and lots of storytelling. Asking the grandparents to tell about when they were growing up. Kids LOVE to hear these stories
For 101 activities for kids to do with an Alzheimer’s patient from the Alzheimer’s Association, click here. This list will spark other ideas that may be more specifically suited to you and your family. Remember, these are precious moments between your children and their grandparents that you are creating. Enjoy them!