Today’s guest blog post is a reflective piece by Christine Wise. Find out more about the author in the bio at the foot of this page.
They were playing in the living room. Granddad was supposed to be helping with the jigsaws. It was going well with the four and six piece jigsaws but then my granddaughter tipped out the double sided one. At 26 months she needed help with that one but her Granddad has Young Onset Alzheimer’s and the puzzle was beyond him.
She has never known him without Alzheimer’s. Obviously his dementia is deepening as she grows older but she appears to be taking this in her stride. She never makes comparisons with her other two Granddads and has her own way of handling him.
On this occasion she came through to the kitchen and politely said that she thought Granddad needed some help. I went through and turned all the pieces so they were the right way for one of the puzzles and the two of them continued playing.
More recently, we were helping her parents to move house. There were many boxes that were not needed and Granddad was tasked with breaking them up before putting them in sacks to go down the tip. On the third occasion he returned to the door to ask what he was supposed to be doing I asked our granddaughter, now 28 months, if she could help him. After donning her coat and shoes and climbing out the door she turned to ask what Granddad was supposed to be doing so she could tell him. The two of them worked together for nearly two hours with the young taskmaster keeping her granddad on track.
She knows to get him easy books to read to her, she knows he needs to rest, she knows he cannot get things from cupboards and knows he will walk round the garden with her for much longer than anyone else.
On a recent car journey when she was declaring everyone ‘silly’, my friend joined in and asked her if Granddad was silly. No, Granddad was not silly, he just got tired easily and forgot things was the reply. She doesn’t love him any the less, she just accepts him as he is.