The only way to build a website to help adolescents and teenagers is to seek direction from peers who are in the same situation. Through a series of focus groups conducted via Skype, kids across the United States and Canada shared their experience and wisdom so parents could learn and other children who have a loved one with dementia could benefit.
What You Can Do to Help Yourself
Most importantly, speak openly about your feelings, because all of those emotions are normal and perfectly acceptable! They include:
- Frustration, frustration, frustration
Extracurricular Activities: They Matter!
Almost universally, kids say that extracurricular activities improve their lives the most. Sports such as soccer, swimming, basketball, and hockey provide a team atmosphere and an escape from the burdens at home. Others gravitate toward choir or theatre. Some even find that volunteering changes their perspective, and fosters gratitude for what is going right.
Spending Time With Your Loved One
How should you spend time with someone who can't talk, or doesn't remember what you've said? Or may not treat you nicely? Child caregivers find that the following activities work well because they promote good feelings, yet don't require much interaction:
- Viewing home movies or perusing old photo albums
- Watching DVDs (especially comedies)
- Playing games such as chess or checkers, or working puzzles
- Walking through a park
Some approaches to keep in mind:
- You can't alter what's happening with your loved one; instead, try to change your expectations for the time you spend together.
- You don't have to speak to convey anxiety and tension. Be aware of what emotions you express with your face and body, and how your loved one might feel.
- When possible, use touch and nonverbal gestures to communicate.
- As language skills diminish, people can still understand what you are saying - for a while. But conversations become difficult. Try to avoid questions that require long answers. Instead, ask simple ones, or share your own stories and offer lots of compliments.