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July 01, 2006


Alice Byrne

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that. It's heartbreaking to see how our parents slowly suffer from such disease. But then it's great that your father has a very supportive family behind him. Don't worry. Your daughter will eventually understand her grandpa's condition. You just have to explain things to her slowly. I know you'll find a way to better explain her grandpa's condition to her.


My grandmother has Alzheimer's. Recently, it has become very difficult to care for her because she no longer remembers any of us and she has become paranoid. Many times she's afraid to be with us, but she also doesn't want to be alone. She wants to be with her husband, children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, her husband passed away ten years ago and her children and grandchildren have grown up. There's no way to turn back time 30+ years. She doesn't remember the time passing, so she keeps insisting that someone should just take her "home".

The only thing she truly enjoys these days is being around her great grandchildren. She rarely remembers their names or even that she has met them before. However, when she's with these little ones, she seems to forget her fears and sadness for at least a short while.

I'm not sure there's much you can say to your daughter to explain this awful disease. Just take her to visit her grandpa as much as you can. I think young children make some situations easier because they accept them and go right on playing. Whereas, we as adults, want to fix what's wrong.

My advice to you and your family is to get in touch with an Alzheimer's support group and check out some books at the library. It's important to see that you're not alone.

Best wishes.


Kids understand more than you realize or more than they let on even. I lost my mother when I was 5 years old and because she prepared me for what was going to happen their were no surprises. I was with her in her final moments and knew exactly what was going on even though nothing was said. So my advise is to talk to your little one and explain what is happening to Grampa's brain, it will make it alot less traumatic for her. Good luck to you, I send my prayers to your family

Mary Tsao

I don't have the answer to your question, but I did want to say how lucky and blessed your father is to have such a loving and strong family by his side.

Alzheimer's is a devastating disease. It's difficult to watch and it lingers over years. It's hard on the sufferer and harder on the families. But you know this.

I'm sorry you have to watch your father as he moves through this illness.

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