Your relationships

7. Talking to children of different age groups

Children and young people will respond to the news of your dementia in different ways. This will partly be affected by their age and how they tend to deal with things.

Pre-school

At this age, children are mostly interested in what's going on at the moment. Explain your dementia to them as simply as you can - for example, tell them you might not remember things you've talked about, or may lose things sometimes.

Primary school age

Children at this age can be very honest and ask difficult questions. Encourage them to do this and say how they feel. From the age of eight or nine, children can often understand more difficult concepts like illness and death. Sometimes children of this age try to hide their feelings. They may be anxious - this could show in disturbed sleep or bad dreams, or aches and pains that don't seem to have a cause. It's important to listen to their worries.

Teenagers

Teenage years can be difficult because of the changes people go through at this age. Try to allow teenagers the time and space to come to terms with your dementia in their own way. They may not show their emotions and may be easily embarrassed. Show them you are there to listen to them but try not to make them talk about their feelings if they don't want to or are not ready.