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I am raising my grandson. I don't know where to start because before my father-in-law progressed into the Alzheimer's my grandson and my father-in-law were buddies.

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I just bought one called "What's happening to Grandpa?" that is pretty good.
I also bought one called "Weeds in Nana's garden". You can look online and find
several others I am sure.
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There are several good books available for preschoolers and early elementary available that deal with dementia. I don't recall the titles, but go to Amazon and search for dementia in the book section and I'm sure they will show up. I think one of them is called The Memory Book. They will help open the discussion.
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Try your local Alzheimer's Assoc. They have a vast library of information. Sure their are many other small children you need age appropriate information.
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Google books for children about dementia. There are quite a few.
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I teach preschool to children about that age. I also faced telling my oldest grandson about his great-grandmother ( my mom) when she had dementia. The best advice I can give is to keep the explanations simple and in the moment. Children that age are very self-involved. They will remember that Grandpa said something silly, but they won’t
ponder and worry about it. Legos capture their attention much more frequently at this age then why Granla called him Jimmy instead of Bobby.

Interactions between them will require more and more supervision. My mother could say inappropriate things and I always supervised their time together.

Encourage interaction between them, but stay close-by and be prepared with a simple and short explanation; “Grandpa’s brain is broken. That happens sometimes when you get old.”
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Just remember that 5 year olds also do not have their executive problem solving and reasoning abilities fully developed.
When my sister was 5 years old, our mother died after a drawn out battle with cancer.
My sister’s biggest worry was that the other people she loved would get sick and die. Or that others would die in a car accident, or somehow also “be gone”.

Telling her that no matter what happened she had many people that loved her helped. Telling her she would never be alone, and would always be loved and taken care of helped.
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MaryKathleen Nov 11, 2018
I think that is why it is a good idea to keep extended family in a child's life. That way they know there are people they know who love them and will care for them if their immediate caregiver's are gone.

My children were about 8 to 10 when my dad died with lung cancer. It was awful and when he started having hallucinations because of the morphine I just told them it was like he was having a nightmare but he couldn't wake up.
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My guess is that there are bits of your own body that are wearing out. Perhaps you could show your grandson the difference between your own bits and his (tough skin on back of heels is fairly easy), and say when you are very old, some things wear out or break down like old cars. Then say that bits of FIL’s brain are getting very old, and sometimes they don’t work properly any more. Most of it works, and you just have to help a bit sometimes. Probably best to do a general outline first, and then more detail at a later time when that has sunk in. Don't forget that your grandson is very likely to raise the topic with FIL, so use words that you think will go down well to him.

Two things: First, I’d stress the ‘very’ old, because kids can worry about death and you want to distance the possibility of it happening soon to the people he relies on. Second, this of course depends on how the Alzheimers is affecting FIL. If it’s memory lapses, this is quite appropriate. If it is anything that could lead to danger, it’s a different matter.

I hope it goes OK.
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jacobsonbob Nov 9, 2018
Excellent point! If the child is already computer-savvy, a comparison between an old brain and an old computer can be made. The brain can get "bugs" that cause it to malfunction (but perhaps a different word should be chosen so the child doesn't think you mean there are insects in the head of your LO.
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MargaretMcKen Nov 9, 2018
Great link, particularly if things have moved beyond the early stages.
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