How do I help my 7 yr old children understand this elderly woman with whom we share a house with?

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They are extremely afraid of her. My twin daughters who just turned 7 years old and i (42 yr old single mom whom spent every last dollar to move in this house which was adver. in paper-so their is no money to move. we are stuck) just found out she has dementia, which i know nothing of. she has mood swings, she actually seems to be a completely defferent person than the woman who greeted us at her door to show us the 2 rms and bathroom, sweet as pie. she has been making me very angry ,upset, and she has my daughters scared to death, they actually want to sleep in my rm w me. its as if she only knows to scream and start drama ,i guess for attention? are we safe? what can i do to explain to my children?(until we can get out of there. thank you for any info. that you

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Alheimerzers is a disease. Please study about it, and help your children learn to not be afraid
My daughter was 3 when we moved into a home with 6 elderly. She is now 13. I love that she has had so many grandma;s and grandpa's/ She learned. She doesn't get scared, she will just say I know mom, it is dementia. My older children visit, along with the grandchildren who want to "see the ladies". I think education will go a long way in helping the situation.
But, do seek help for your landlord. Call until you find help. Try looking up Adult Protective Services, and Elder Services and even 911.
Alzheimer's patients are not generally a danger to you. Try visiting with her more--Listening, eye to eye, and smiling while always keeping the same calm, quiet demeanor seems to help.
Please don't miss this chance for your children to learn first hand about a growing disease, and learn to not be afraid of elderly, handicapped, and other "diseased" people.
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I would contact the local police ( in person) and talk to them, and the Fire Department. You could wake up to a fire due to her forgetfulness, poor thing. It isnt her fault, I went through this with my Mother for a year until I got her medication. She had fires trying to cook and its a very dangerous situation. You can also contact APS but I think the police will know who her family is, if any, and contact them. Explain to your children she isnt feeling well and when people dont feel well they get grumpy. They must experience everything in life and how you react is a vital to them. My older children had to learn it with mom living with us. The best thing you can do is show understanding and compasion for the woman, this is a good life lesson and teaches them understanding and compasion for the elderly and the ill. I hope you can get her help, for everyones sake!
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Is the girls' father still living? Could you turn to him for help? I agree with other people that you need to move out. I don't know if a 7 year old can understand dementia... and if they did, would it be even more frightening?
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You guys are at risk. No wonder your kids are scared. If you put down a security deposit, demand it back and leave.

If you have a written lease, I would call the police during the next episode of dementia. They might be able to help.
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It sounds as though this lady may have a personality disorder (as well as dementia?) I find it interesting as well as Julidu asked, who told you it was dementia? You didn't say she was only doing this in the evening hours, as "sundowning" often occurs. If she is acting like this much of the time, I think it's quite likely she has a personality disorder like borderline or bi-polar or a mixture of disorders. People like this often create constant drama and act irrationally, because to them chaos is normal and stimulating. It's impossible to live in harmony w/ someone like this. I doubt you're in danger, unless she has schizophrenia which can make ppl act violently if not on meds. But I would definitely keep a sharp eye on the girls and be in protective mode until you can find another living situation. I'd let them sleep in your room w/ you even if you have to make beds on the floor w/ mattresses from their room. The most harm this lady may do is the screaming and acting out verbally. But that is scary and unsettling to little kids (as well as grown-ups!) I agree w/ explanations to them, like Julidu suggested. Helping them understand that yelling and screaming allows her to release something that is inside her, but she is basically just unhappy and needs to do this to feel better. This is a bad situation because you have nothing to compare with....how was she before, or was she always like this?? Get more info, if you can. Best of luck and God bless you and your precious daughters.
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Shame on you for putting your children at risk for not investigating this live-in situation before you moved in. You should be able to get a refund however, and talk with some other apartment managers about your situation and hope one of them has a heart and lets you move in there. I just moved so I have recent experience. For a U-Haul for 6 hrs. it cost me $63. I am assuming you have a job to support your children, so get your refund, move to another location and never rent a room without spending time with the owner. This is like a marriage and you need to be compatible.
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Oh Goodness! My 1st reaction is do you know if she has anyone helping her?

My MIL has dementia and I have daughters ( 4 -11 years old). I explained what was going on by telling them she was sick and explained her brain didn't work right all the time - she is unable to make "connections". We then discussed the connections they were learning at school and the similarities and differences. A good example of her erratic behavior was of a window being open and shut. When the windows are open everything flows nices and feels good but as the window closes that slows down. Think about all the windows being shut and you want to get out. That make you pretty frustrated. I let my daughters ask questions from there...

But I am concerned - how did you find out her diagnosis? Was it a 3rd party? Could you speak with them about her behavior?

Sorry for all the follow up questions.
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It sounds as though this woman may be sundowning, meaning that her mood swings come later in the day. They are part of her disease process and she has no control over it. I agree with kathy1 . If there is family, get them involved. There are some medications that help with sundowning. You and your daughters can help her and yourselves by becoming more familiar dementia in general and sundowning in particular and there is great information available both online andat the library. Check into elder care resources in your community.

There are books written for children to help them understand dementia, check with your library. The more they understand the less frightened they will be. If they can learn to be calm and to help defuse the situation, they will feel safer and more in control until you can arrange other another living situation.
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Does the woman have family? they should be contacted immediately. You can also contact your county council on aging, it goes by many names but everyone has one. It Takes care of elderly issues. Go to your local library, they will help you. I'm afraid you will have to relocate. See if your county can offer shelter or if you qualify for section 8 housing.
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