Sunday, March 13, 2011

Six-Year-Old Caregiver

Mom, Jeffrey & Jeff cooking together.
At dinner tonight, my six year old son said “Mommy, I think I found a place that can help Beep (what he calls my mom, his grandmother).”

He told me that when he was watching TV, an add came on for “a place that helps people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.” He ran around the house looking for a piece of paper to write down the phone number for us. He could not find anything to write with but said he would keep a notepad and pencil downstairs at the TV so he can write down the information next time.
He said “I know it won’t cure her, but I think they can at least help Beep.”
It amazed all of us to see how much he cares about Mom. On his own he took the initiative to try and get more information about resources for her. It was especially important for Mom to see Jeffrey choosing to be so involved in her care.
I was in awe of the language Jeffrey used in explaining dementia and how he understood that this is not a curable disease, but one that can be helped. I got teary-eyed hearing my son speak so knowledgeably, and caring so much for Mom.
In our everyday life, it is hard to see how all of this is impacting him. How much he understands and how much he even wants to help. He did not really chose to be a caregiver, so we try not to pressure him into that role. But I realize now that he does see himself as a caregiver, and he will discover his own ways to contribute to Mom’s care.
Children pay attention and listen to far more than we realize. If we just give them time to express what they know and how they feel, they will teach us amazing lessons about life and love.


Rev. Katie


  1. You're not biased. Jeffrey IS an awesome kid! Remind me to show you a UU Funding Panel Grant that was given to a UU church for Alzheimer's Support Programs...kcr

  2. "He said “I know it won’t cure her, but I think they can at least help Beep.” This is how family members should feel about the elderly, not disdain or frustration or pity.

  3. Taking care of an individual with Alzheimer's or dementia can be very challenging. It's good to know that there are people who sacrifice their time just to take care of their parents who have this kind of condition. I've been doing some dementia training for quite some time now, and I always impart my knowledge about dementia and Alzheimer's to my family and other relatives so they can have something to do in case this happens in the future.