Time, Alzheimer’s and Children
by Eric and Heather Andersen
Children come into the world without the preconceptions that adults impose on people and situations. They see everything without judgment. They are simply soaking up information from their environment. Having said that, it is our responsibility to set an example. Children, sponge-like, will absorb our reactions and copy them. Observe a child interact with someone whom we perceive to be disabled. Often we see that the child’s reaction resembles our own. It is up to us to educate children and pass on the caregiving model to which we aspire.
In dealing with my Grandmother, we found that the most important thing was to value her for who she was, rather than to view her situation as a decline or disability. In other words, we needed to view her through the eyes of a child: to love what is, not what we believe should be.
Children are able to play an important, beneficial role in the lives of Alzheimer’s experiencers because both seem to connect at a primal level, the level where where the soul is found. Whether one believes in the soul is irrelevant – the important thing is that an exchange of energy takes place. You can see the Alzheimer’s experiencer alter in front of your eyes. Whether their soul is touched, or the child stimulates a different part of their brain, is immaterial. What you see is love, touch, laughter, and both parties living in the moment. A young child and an Alzheimer’s experiencer have no notion of time. Witnessing the interaction between them can bring about a reality check in all of us. Most of us live a life outside present time. We think or worry only about the past, the next moment, the next day, or what we will be doing next year. When you examine it, the moment at hand is all there is. We no longer live in time past and we are not living in the future. All we have is the present moment. If we pay attention to their interaction we realise that!
Through guidance, discussion, and by keeping lines of communication open, difficult situations can be transformed into awareness and magical times. The more we can enhance children’s understanding of Alzheimer’s, and them in contact with Alzheimer’s experiencers, the better off we all will be.
Eric and Heather Andersen are the authors of
Remember I Can’t Remember
Shifting Your Paradigm
The book is available here: