When Nona, Grandma, Bubby Don’t Recognize Me

Originally posted in allaboutestates.ca September 17, 2013:

Dementia is an ugly disease and the unravelling process of the person can be heartbreaking. As adults, we can understand on a physical level what may be happening; however on an emotional level it continues to strike fear into our hearts. Children on the other hand, may not have the ability to understand that dementia is a disease. A grandparent may not remember the child’s birthday which is something we can understand; but for Nana not to recognize them, can be incredibly difficult.

There are a number of books that have been published and the New York Times in their October 5, 2012 article, offers some suggestions. Alzheimer’s Society of Toronto
has a very helpful information specialist who can also assist given their large library of on line resources.

Teens have started support groups/clubs in their high schools in order to provide education, information and awareness. The Sept 7, 2013 Globe and Mail profiled the INS club (Initiative for Neuroscience and Dementia) started by a concerned student with support from Baycrest Health Sciences. The report shared that this club is now operating in 7 other schools.

Dementia affects the entire family. Let’s also remember the many students who are providing care to a family member. While our age demographics are shifting, family caregivers will continue to be relied upon. This also includes young people who are actively interested and involved in loving and caring for their families. The most recent Statistic Canada data (Portrait of Caregivers, 2012) found that 8% of carers looking after grandparents endorsed at least 5 symptoms of psychological distress (depression, feelings of isolation and disturbed sleep).

Congrats to those students who have taken a leadership role in sharing issues and information relating to dementia. Let’s please continue to support our Young Carers.
-Audrey Miller
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