Follow
Share

We live 2 doors down from 5 year old and 11 year old grandsons. Psychotic behavior of Pop Pop can be scary. How do I explain?

Find Care & Housing
There are many books for children on Alz and dementia. Here is one link.

https://www.alzheimers.net/6-03-16-books-for-children-about-alzheimers-and-dementia
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to sjplegacy
Report

Gaszakr: At this point considering the young ages of the grandsons, keep it simple, e.g. 'Pop Pop is ill/sick.' They are not going to comprehend anything further than that simple statement.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Llamalover47
Report

Explain that Pop Pop has problems remembering things. Sometimes the "not remembering" can feel frightening to him. When people are scared they cry, hide, or try to fight off what seems to be a monster. If Pop Pop acts angry or scared, the best idea is to give him lots of room, tell him you love him, and let him know you will get a "big person" (adult) to help him.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Taarna
Report

The best book I know to explain dementia to someone who does not know anything about it is Jude Welton's "Can I tell you about dementia: A guide for family, friends and carers" (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2013). An 11-year-old could readily understand this. There are good pictures that will help with chatting with a five-year old.

Love and Prayers on a difficult journey
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to BritishCarer
Report

I would explain to them all about the illness in terms they can understand. Tell them he is sick and can't help what he does. However, for peace of mind and possible safety of the children, mentally and physically, I would not put the two together. If they want, let them send cards to him to avoid physical contact which could be a problem. The older one should understand. But keep them separate.
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to Riley2166
Report

Well, our daughter's choice was to move away, far away. "You aren't the kind of grandparents we want in our kids' lives." I don't wish that on anyone. Include their parents in any conversations you have with your grandchildren.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to graygrammie
Report
Daughterof1930 Jul 31, 2021
I’m very sorry for your experience
(4)
Report
Keep it simple. Say he is ill and sometimes his behaviour can be frightening and he doesn't know what he is doing or mean to upset them. Then keep them away as much as possible only seeing them when he is having more "docile" days. If he doesn't know who they are then keep them away completely and you visit them at their home.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to TaylorUK
Report

There are children's books out there explaining Dementia/ALZ. Contact the ALZ foundation and see if they offer one.
Helpful Answer (2)
Reply to JoAnn29
Report
gdaughter Jul 31, 2021
You may mean the alzheimer's association....might also want to touch base with local bookstore children's dept or local librarian. I feel like I read something about a book dealing with this for children.
(0)
Report
I was walking through a store one day with my Husband. With his dementia he made noises, sort of a quiet moaning. A little girl walking with her mom asked mom “why is that man sad.” Mom tugged at her hand as if to sush her. I said, “no, it’s ok. I explained he was not sad but his brain did not work as well as hers or mine. I asked if she had any friends in school with autism. She said yes. I asked if they did thing to make themselves feel better. Like rock, hold blankets, or make noise. When she said yes I told her the noises he was making were just the same and he was making the noises to make himself feel safe. I assured her he was not sad and thanked her for her concern.
I also had adults walk up to him asking if he was ok. Since he was pretty much non verbal I would let them know that he had dementia was non verbal and this was his coping method.
Kids get it, they will understand if given an explanation that they understand.
Keep in mind though that with dementia there is a loss of filters and foul language, violence, urinating in inappropriate places, exposing themselves is a possibility so if there is a chance this would occur it is wise to not leave grandpa alone with the kids.
Helpful Answer (14)
Reply to Grandma1954
Report
RedVanAnnie Jul 31, 2021
awesome answer
(6)
Report
See 1 more reply
The 11 year old should be able to understand a fuller explanation of what's wrong with pop pop than the 5 year old. That Pop Pop has a disease of the brain called Alzheimer's that causes his brain to die and because of that it affects his behavior. The grandson may have questions - answer them as well as you can and if you don't know the answer, maybe the two of your can do some research together to find the answers.

The 5 yo on the other hand is going to have a much more limited understanding - at this time just tell her Pop Pop is sick and it makes him act the way he does - that he can't help acting the way he does.

Good luck with the education of your grandchildren.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to cweissp
Report

Yep, the “thinking” part of Grandma’s brain isn’t working very well any more, but the “loving” part still works just perfectly.

Not sure I know what you’re describing as “psychotic”, but if Pop Pop is doing anything really “scary”, (not just “different”), their time with him during such episodes should probably be very limited.
Helpful Answer (4)
Reply to AnnReid
Report
RedVanAnnie Jul 31, 2021
What a nice thing to say, that the "loving part works perfectly!"
(3)
Report
We have an adult son with a hypoxic brain injury and a congenital birth defect. He’s very aware of his health problems as it’s been a lifelong journey. When he was quite young I started telling him that “everyone has a thing” This was aimed at his young mind. I told him that some things you can see, like a prosthetic leg or a hearing aid, but many things you cannot see, but still everyone has a thing. He learned what his thing was, and also started spotting and having empathy for other people’s thing. Sometimes he’d spot a person in a wheelchair or someone signing and ask me “isn’t that their thing?” A few times he’s heard someone yelling out inappropriately, and he quietly says “that’s their thing, everyone has one” Maybe use something similar with the grandsons, it teaches compassion and empathy, and they’ll understand grandpa better. I wish you all peace
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Daughterof1930
Report

Gaszakr, just be up front with the grandsons. Tell them that Pop Pop brain is broken and doctor's cannot fix it. That with Pop Pop's brain, there will be times that he will do or say things that may confuse them. But always remember that Pop Pop loves both of them very much. And if there is something confusing that they can always come to you for guidance. Chances are the 11 year old will understand, but the 5 year old may not grasp everything.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to freqflyer
Report
RedVanAnnie Jul 31, 2021
Not being able to fix the broken brain might sound a little scary to a child. (who will then wonder if his own brain might break!)
Maybe something more along the lines of PopPop's brain is working "differently."
(3)
Report
Maybe just keep it simple. Tell them Pop pop is sick. Acknowledge that his behavior can be scary. Mention that he does love them and since he's sick he can't help the way he is behaving and he is sorry, as are you.

Maybe something like that could help?
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to againx100
Report

Ask a Question
Subscribe to
Our Newsletter