If there is one thing that grandmothers living with dementia and their three year-old grandchildren have in common, it’s a resistance to having their behavior controlled! What CAN be managed is their visits with each other. The exuberance of a three year-old can be delightful, but also overwhelming to someone who is easily distressed by a lot of commotion or noise.
Consider the conditions of the visit: what time of day is it? They both might manage better in the morning, before they get tired out and more easily irritated, or just after a nap. Are they in a place big enough that he can run around a little if he needs to without being uncomfortably close? Maybe she can watch him play at a distance. Can an activity be planned that they can share? Blowing bubbles, coloring together, sharing a snack, a simple game? Prior to the visit, you can tell your grandson that Grandma doesn’t feel well, and might get grouchy. Ask him to do his best not to be TOO bouncy and loud. Set a time limit on the visit and watch for signs that you might need to cut it shorter. Share a book with him about dementia that might help him understand her a little better. Below is a list of resources that includes recommended books for kids from pre-school through high school.