Old people love kids: breaking thro dementia

Toddlers are amazing; they can light up a room just being themselves and they keep us adults entertained for hours as they potter around and explore their surroundings. And specifically today, I noticed that old people LOVE kiddies.

The Dementia Came

My Grandma has dementia and moved into a ‘home’ a few months ago. It was quite a shock. The decline seemed to happen very suddenly. One day she was with us, and the next…well…

Since then, my 18mth old and I have tried to visit once a week. Sometimes Grandma can engage with me and respond to simple yes or no questions. Sometimes she is very distant and I wonder if she even kold hands claspednows I am in the room with her. But one thing that has been a hit EVERY TIME is just the opportunity to watch Charis play! It makes her smile!

Sometimes she even wants to explore Charis’s toys. She listens as we read the books and try to make the noises of the animals. Maybe it is a comfort to hear everything spelled out in the simplest of words instead of being expected to have prior knowledge all the time. Perhaps she remembers the days when her children were little, maybe even when she herself was a child, so bubbly with energy and the newness of the world.

Living in the here and now

We don’t talk of much – I’m not sure how much she remembers of life ‘outside’ and the people that I might refer to. But we create moments of happiness in the here and now – little bits of fun that don’t need any context or memories – just watching my little one play. She probably won’t remember my visit in half an hour, but in this exact minute, she is thoroughly enjoying it.

Thank you, Charis! Thank you for bringing meaning and happiness to my Grandma. Thank you for connecting with her and lighting up her life when I could not. You are a real blessing!


For more information about Dementia, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website. I found their PDF on visiting loved ones particularly helpful.

Diary of an imperfect mum


Cuddle Fairy


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    • 2
      Lucy At Home

      Yes but it’s surprisingly difficult to have conversations without context! I have to catch myself when I say, “You know John, well the other day he…” and change to, “The other day, one of my friends…”

      Thanks for commenting. L

  1. 3
    An imperfect mum (Catie)

    This is such a beautiful post and I agree with you that young ones can provide a link as we found the same when we visited my nana in her home. All eyes would be on the boys…
    In Seattle there has been a trial where nursery children have visited an old people’s home with huge success, here’s the link of you are interested. http://www.boredpanda.com/preschool-retirement-home-intergenerational-learning-center-ilc/
    In Holland (my home) there is a brilliant approach too – students needing accommodation are housed with old people. There is also a whole village for people with dementia http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/11/the-dutch-village-where-everyone-has-dementia/382195/ Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

    • 4
      Lucy At Home

      I’d heard about the dementia village and always thought that sounded like a good idea (if they’re happy believing XYandZ then why do we need to bring them back into the harsh reality that they’re actually really ill?!). But I’d never heard of housing students and the elderly together. That sounds like a brilliant idea! Nursing homes are such dreary, boring places! Having students bustling about must really lift the mood of the place. Thank you so much for your links – I’ve really enjoyed reading them. L

  2. 5

    aww this is so beautiful and touching and heartfelt but so sad at the same time. How lovely for your Grandma to have Charis – what a wonderful girl to be able to light up her life for those visits – she must be so special. But you’re right – children possess a sparkle, a light, that is just wonderful for the elderly. I’m sorry to hear of your Grandma being affected and I really do hope she gets all the support she needs. Thank you for sharing this post #BloggerClubUK

    • 6
      Lucy At Home

      Thank you. My grandma actually seems to be thriving since moving to her care home so I am very pleased! I think Charis enjoys the attention too – she’s like a mini celebrity when we go in there now! haha. Thanks for commenting. L

  3. 7
    Silly Mummy

    That’s lovely, and it is very true. My Grandma had Alzheimer’s & also found babies & children in the family enjoyable, though she didn’t know who they were (very late on it did start to make her anxious and agitated, but for a long time she loved children around). Animals as well have a soothing effect. It’s not just dementia care either – small children have been shown to have a very positive impact on the health and well being of elderly residential/care home residents. #justanotherlinky

  4. 9

    My Nan has dementia too and we’ve experienced the exact same thing! No matter how bad it is she lights up every time she sees my son, and I also love how he is so innocent he doesn’t realise there is anything wrong with her and interacts as normal and with so much patience. It’s beautiful to see. Thanks for sharing #ablogginggoodtime

    • 10
      Lucy At Home

      Yes you’re right – youngsters just accept people as they are. I think perhaps because they haven’t got any preconceived ideas about what “should” happen. I’m glad that your nan enjoys seeing your son too. It’s such a horrible illness that can make the world so confusing and frightening for them, and moments of happiness are really precious. Thanks for commenting. L

  5. 11
    New Mummy Blog

    It’s sounds like exactly what your grandma needs, a bit of relaxing simple now time. I think it makes it harder if you try to test how much they know, hard on you and on them. Living in the here and now and being forced to by child’s play is fantastic. Hope you remember these happy play times and can remind Charis of them in years to come. #bloggerclubuk

    • 12
      Lucy At Home

      Yes you’re right – it’s distressing for all parties when she can’t remember something, so let’s just focus on what she CAN do. I have been taking lots of photos of our visits so that we can remember these special moments. Thanks for your comment. L

  6. 13
    Becky, Cuddle Fairy

    That is so lovely that your grandma enjoys Chris regardless of how she is doing that day. That says so much about the charm & pure joy that a child brings to the world! Thanks so much for joining us at #BloggerClubUK

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