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Talking to Kids about Dementia: How to Explain Changes in a Loved One

Posted Aug 10 2010 12:00am

I'll never forget the look on my kids' faces when they first talked to their grandfather - my dad - after his brain surgery. It's unclear what went wrong for Dad, but the surgery, performed because of fluid build-up behind scar tissue from a World War II head injury, left him in a state of extreme dementia. The irony that this surgery was to prevent dementia wasn't lost on his family. The fact that this surgery is generally very safe and effective didn't help ease the pain the family felt. The kids' grandpa was no longer Grandpa as they knew him. Their expressions upon that discovery are burned into my brain.

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