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Making the Decision on Telling the Grandchildren about an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Alzheimer’s Care in Rochester, NY – The Age of a Senior’s Grandchildren will Help Determine How Much they are Told about the Disease

Alzheimer's Care in Rochester, NYThe morning that Ethel went to her doctor’s office for a follow up appointment, she really didn’t know what to expect. Her eldest daughter took her to this appointment and they were concerned about certain issues with her health, especially her memory. The word Alzheimer’s hung in the air, but no one dared to mention it out loud.

During the time that Ethel had talked about the possibility of having this disease with her family, one thing was clear from the beginning: don’t let the grandkids know about it.

Ethel’s grandkids ranged from 6 to 17 years of age and they didn’t have any notion that something could be wrong. When Ethel heard the diagnosis, she was devastated, but when they got in the car to go home, after a long meeting with the doctor and other administrators who aimed to educate them on the disease, she told her daughter not to say anything to her grandchildren. She didn’t want them having to think about such a “horrible thing as this,” as she put it.

At first, Ethel went on about her life as though nothing was wrong. She didn’t focus on Alzheimer’s care or even look into various options with regard to it. She would visit with her grandkids as usual and made sure they didn’t know anything was really wrong.

She found that she understood what was going on during moments when she couldn’t remember something, had to check a calendar to make sure no appointments were going on, and so on, so she was able to keep her disease hidden from them. During the next couple of years, her family shielded those grandchildren as much as possible, until it was no longer possible to do so. Even then, when the memory loss and behavior issues became more significant, they still attempted to hide the fact of the diagnosis from them.

That was a choice that they made as a family, but it’s not always necessary. Keeping kids from understanding about certain diseases or diagnoses may feel important to protect their innocence, but most of the time kids of at least a certain age can understand and empathize with what’s happening. Talk about the positive and negative aspects of letting grandkids know about an Alzheimer’s diagnosis for their grandparent because they care, too. It’s a personal decision, of course, and one that should be made with care.

If you have a loved one who could benefit from the help of Alzheimer’s care in Rochester, NY contact the caregivers at Caring Hearts of Rochester, LLC. We help seniors and their families with many levels of home care service. Call (585) 245-0134 for more information.

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Kevin Watkins

Caring Hearts of Rochester was founded by John Hunt and Kevin Watkins. Kevin and John met when they were in the same Boy Scout Troop in their youth. They chose different career paths before forming Caring Hearts.
Kevin and his wife, Candy, lived in Naples, Florida for 10 years, where three of their four children were born. He was recruited to the insurance industry by a colleague who felt his personality would benefit people with needs. The insurance industry became a big part of their lives. He evaluated peoples’ risks, working with property and casualty, and life products, and later began to underwrite Long Term Care insurance as people were beginning to plan for their futures. He started two agencies, then bought a third. In his last three years before selling his third agency, he was ranked in the top 10%, top 5% & then top 1% nationally out of the more than 12,500 Allstate agencies in the U.S. at the time. Kevin’s success can be accredited to his kind nature and his genuine desire to help individuals and families with their needs. He feels very at home meeting with people and discussing their needs, a trait that has been very helpful in his continued success with Caring Hearts of Rochester. Kevin returned to Rochester in 2006 to introduce their young children to snow and to be closer to his extended family.

After having returned to Rochester from their careers in other states, John and Kevin reconnected. Alzheimer’s had afflicted both of their families, and they had both experienced and witnessed the challenges associated with the role of being a caregiver. Kevin’s and John’s collective experiences complemented their desire to work with families and individuals in need. They founded Caring Hearts of Rochester and have since been able work in a capacity that has become a passion for them. They are both Certified Senior Advisors (CSA), a designation earned through education, study and experience in the Elderly and Geriatric Care Profession. Their number one concern is providing their senior clients with ethical and effective services and products. Caring Hearts of Rochester is associated with numerous local affiliations for the elderly in the Upstate NY area including Lifespan, Eldersource, and the Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly.

As the co-founders and hands-on managers of Caring Hearts of Rochester, we thank you for this opportunity to tell you about our passion. We are responsible for the services we offer, for the people we hire, for the training they receive, for the quality and reliability of the services our team delivers to you and your loved ones. Give us a call so that we may learn more about you and your needs at (585) 861-CARE(2273)