Children have a valuable role to play in helping a person with dementia – bringing comfort to the person and a calming effect. Derek Fisher suggests nine ways children can help a loved one with dementia.
1. A person with dementia sees a child as a friend. Children of all ages, especially young ones, bring a smile to everyone’s face.
2. A person with dementia sees a child as someone they can relate to as children are non-judgemental.
3. A person with dementia always likes to hear children talk and sing. They bring innocence to a room setting and they know only what they see. Everything is in black and white. The person with dementia somehow senses this innocence.
4. A person with dementia loves nothing better than to cuddle a little child, especially if they are family. Children are calming and it’s not rare to see someone with dementia holding a baby doll. To them its reality.
5. A person with dementia sees children as calming and not official such as a doctor or nurse or social worker.
6. A person with dementia in the early to mid-stages loves nothing better than to sit with a child and talk about school or TV but the best topic is what it was like when that person was the child’s age. It’s a great reminiscence starter.
7. A person with dementia in the latter stages find children bring serenity to the day and makes that person feel calm and at ease.
8. Children play a massive role in dementia care at all stages and must not be shielded from reality. They can only do good for the person with dementia and the children.
9. It is a definite must that the child/children must be escorted by an adult at all times. This gives the child a sense of security.
Children have an enormous role to play in dementia care and are often seen as the best medicine. People with dementia look forward to seeing their grandchildren / family. It gives them a sense of worth and wellbeing.