DEAR DEIDRE: SINCE my wife was diagnosed with early-onset dementia our three grandchildren haven’t seen her.
She is only 58 and was diagnosed last year.She has deteriorated very quickly.
She used to look after our grandchildren regularly and I know they are missing her but I’ve delayed a visit as I don’t want to upset them.
She used to take such care over her appearance, but unless I brush her hair and dress her, she wouldn’t get dressed for the day.
Our grandchildren are aged nine, seven and five.
My wife keeps asking for them, even though she is getting muddled with their names.
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DEIDRE SAYS: I’m so sorry.
Dementia is one of the cruellest diseases because the person you fell in love with is no longer really there, but they still need a lot of demanding care.
Of course seeing a much-loved grandparent change so rapidly would be confusing without a clear explanation and plenty of reassurance of the kids.
Ideally, you and your wife would explain why she may be behaving differently.
If that isn’t possible perhaps their parents could talk to them.
Often children are relieved to know a person’s behaviour change is part of their dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society has more resources on talking to children about dementia (see alzheimers.org.uk or call 0333 150 3456).
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