*Editor’s note: What is Dementia? It is a term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses that cause a progressive decline in a person’s cognitive functioning of sufficient severity to interfered with their Activities of Daily Livings (ADLs).
When granddad can only mumble a greeting and grandma’s smartphone can be heard ringing from a kitchen cupboard, it’s time to explain to grandchildren what the problem is.
But how do you explain to children, who are quick to notice when something’s not right, that their beloved grandparents aren’t merely becoming forgetful in their old age but are actually suffering from dementia?
Firstly, it’s important to keep children calm, says educational advisor Ulric Ritzer-Sachs. He suggests parents start by saying, “Grandma is ill. It has nothing to do with you.”
If grandma still has some good days but some bad he says parents should say something like, “She might laugh when it’s not clear why. We can’t yet say how long it will stay like that.”
If a grandparent’s illness is already severe, Ritzer-Sachs advises preparing children for the fact that they will become more and more forgetful. “Then we’ll have to get help,” he says they should say.
Despite all that, children should be encouraged to treat their grandparents exactly as they always have done, having fun and being affectionate with them just as usual.
But if a grandparent says something unexpected like “You’re annoying,” as can happen with people who have Dementia, children should be able to stop the game or whatever it is they’re doing together. (dpa)
Brunei’s Minister of Health, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar, during the 15th Legislative Council (LegCo) meeting last year, noted that what’s important is for the public, especially family members to know what are the early signs of Dementia.
The establishment of Demensia Brunei (@db_demensia_brunei) in March 2018 is aimed at raising more awareness on Dementia among the public.
Demensia Brunei is an organisation made up of a number of doctors from the Ministry of Health working in collaboration with specialists from a neighbouring country.
Irnawati binti Haji Mahir, the Vice President of Demensia Brunei, in an interview with Neue on Sunday morning (February 9), said it would be if “at least one person in every household” in the community understands what the early signs of Dementia are.
A part-time Dart Brunei driver, who signed up for a 2-day course on ‘Dementia Care Skills’ at the Health Promotion Centre, hoped that the community would be more “Dementia-friendly” and not look down on them.
“At the end of the day, we are all human. People should not just simply say that people who are living with Dementia are ‘lali’ (a Malay word that has negative connotations),” he said.