What To Tell Children About Alzheimer's Disease

June 26, 2012 Updated Jun 26, 2012 at 8:39 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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June 26, 2012 Updated Jun 26, 2012 at 8:39 PM EDT

(WKBW/Cleveland Clinic) Alzheimer's disease can be a scary diagnosis for patients, their families and especially for children.

Children may be sad, confused or frightened by the behavior of a loved one with the disease.

Doctors say no matter how old the child is, it's important to create an open, honest environment to talk about the disease.

Dr. Sarah Banks of the Cleveland Clinic says it's important to make sure the child feels comfortable going to the parents when a sick grandparent does something embarrassing.

Dr. Banks says parents should explain that it's something that's going on in the brain, and it's not something that grandma wants to do.

Dr. Banks says parents should explain that grandma or grandpa doesn't want to forget things or behave strangely, making a clear distinction of what's the disease versus what's normal behavior.

She also reminds parents to use caution when leaving children in the care of someone with Alzheimer's disease, even if it's early in the diagnosis and they seem OK.

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