Dementia in my family

What can help?

Families can be good company for a person with dementia. Just spending time with the person can be good for them.

Families might also need to help the person with dementia with their shopping, having a shower, keeping appointments or cooking and cleaning. Sometimes paid carers come into the home and help with these things.

Doctors, nurses, the local chemist, counsellors and support workers can all be part of a team of helpers for families and the person with dementia.

Here are some things kids can do to help a person with dementia:

  • spend time together
  • tell stories about your interests, friends and activities
  • ask them to tell you stories about when they were young
  • play music, sing or dance together
  • go for walks together
  • celebrate special events together
  • draw pictures with or for them
  • help with daily tasks like getting food ready and eating
  • help with shopping
  • play quietly when the person with dementia needs rest
  • be understanding about how the dementia affects them
  • explain about dementia to other people

When someone has dementia, it’s much easier for everyone if the family can work together and help each other out. Sometimes kids might need to get help from outside the family too. If you think you need some extra help, click here.


How is it for you right now?

Sometimes, when things are tough, it can feel like no one understands. And, as you know, we are all unique. So what is it like for you?

There are lots of different ways kids can feel about things at different times. What sorts of feelings do you have sometimes? Click and see what happens…

It’s great when I feel happy! It’s important to have fun!

I get mad when things are not fair!
Sometimes I shout.
Sometimes I storm out.
Sometimes I cry.

I feel all alone when nobody understands me. Sometimes I feel left out.

Sometimes I feel so sad that I cry. Or I might just sit quietly. When other people are sad, it makes me sad too.

I can do it! I like to help out. It makes me feel good.
I want to give it a try.

I feel proud of myself! It’s nice to be noticed when I’ve done a good job.

I worry about things sometimes. I get scared that bad things will happen.

I don’t like to miss out. I can get jealous of what others have and I don’t have.

Uh-oh! I feel like it’s all my fault! Did I do the wrong thing?

I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I hope things will get better.

It’s embarrassing! I wish that hadn’t happened! I wish I was invisible!

Sometimes, life is really tough. I’m doing my best but it feels like I should do more!

Remember, there’s no such thing as right or wrong feelings. All feelings are important. They help us keep track of how we are going in our lives. You could say they’re like a thermometer, which keeps track of our body temperature and tells us if we have a fever.

If you are having lots of very strong feelings, it might be a sign that you could do with some help.

If you have a family member with dementia, you might feel:

  • that it’s not fair that this is happening in your family
  • the adults in your family are finding it hard, which might worry you
  • you have to help more at home than your friends do. You might not have as much time as you’d like to play or just chill out
  • the adults in your family are very busy and have less time to spend with you or take you places
  • you have to do less sport or stop altogether
  • you can’t ask your friends over to play
  • there are a whole lot of changes in your life. Sometimes that might feel OK and other times it might not.

Kids can be very good at getting through tough times. I bet you can already think of things you do when you want to feel better. What are they?

Walk a dog, Stroke soft fur, Listen to birds sing, Visit the zoo…

Make music, Bang some drums, Turn your ipod up loud, Sing, Dance, Write a song…

Hang out with friends, Make someone laugh, Talk about other things…

Be active, Run, Skate, Jump, Swim, Ride, Laugh…

Chill out, Read, Watch a movie, Lie in the sun, Let your mind wander…

Spend time with family, Listen and share, Ask questions, Get out a board game…

Be part of a team, Be part of a club, Do sport, dance, gym, martial arts…

Plan, Build, Learn, Challenge yourself, Beat your own score…

Get creative, Draw, Paint, Use colour, Create, Keep a diary, Write a poem…

When we want to feel better, it can help to remember what we are good at. What are you good at? What are your strengths?

I try new things I’m full of energy I’m good at making things I’m interesting I’m a good friend I can do things by myself I’m honest I’m curious I’ve got courage I’m reliable I’m loving I care about others I work hard I’m helpful I’m good fun I try hard I don’t give up I think a lot

Can you think of some other strengths that you have?

Sharing our feelings with someone we trust usually helps us feel better.

Sometimes kids don’t share their feelings because:

  • they don’t want to make someone else upset or worried
  • they think that speaking up might make things worse
  • they don’t think anyone will listen

Still, our feelings might show in other ways that we don’t expect. We might find it harder to pay attention at school or feel tired more often. We might get into arguments more often, have trouble getting to sleep at night or not have fun doing things we used to like.

Remember the thermometer we talked about before? If you find some of these things happening to you, it could be a sign you could do with some help. Being alone with strong feelings probably won’t help make things better.

  • A parent or trusted family member
  • Another trusted adult
  • A teacher or school counsellor
  • A good friend
  • A social worker or counsellor:
  • Dementia Australia understand about dementia and also about kids – 1800 100 500
  • Kids Helpline – online at or by phone 1800 55 1800 (free call). Kids can call Kids Helpline at any time of the day and night.

Let’s recap the things that can help

1. Recognise that there are already things you do that can help you feel better – try one!
2. Remember your strengths
3. Share your feelings with someone you can trust
4. Ask for extra help if you need it. Some ideas for who to ask are listed above

To start the quiz simply click on the "Start" button below.