Nearly 25% of dementia caregivers are caring for both their parents and their children at the same time, which puts them into the “sandwich generation” for sure. Their children, exposed to the variety of symptoms that people with dementia often display, can be confused or upset by what they are seeing. Explaining dementia to kids is not easy, but now there are whole host of books that can help. We explored four children’s books that do a great job describing dementia through the lens of grandparents that kids can surely relate to.
WHAT A BEAUTIFUL MORNING
by Arthur A. Levine and illustrated by Katie Kath
What a Beautiful Morning is a lovely picture book showing how a young boy is able to re-discover a connection with his grandfather through music despite his grandfather’s failing memory. With impressive art works, we see contrasting colors to show the grandfather’s moments of clarity and confusion.
STILL MY GRANDMA
by Véronique Van den Abeele and illustrated by Claude K. Dubois
Still My Grandma explores the shift in roles from the grandmother as the caregiver to the granddaughter caring for her. It teaches simple ways to talk to someone with memory changes and normalizes necessary moves to nursing facilities.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TO GRANDPA?
By Maria Shriver and illustrated by Sandra Speidel
What’s Happening to Grandpa? Takes a more in-depth look at Alzheimer’s disease and some of the challenging symptoms that can arise, it even explores the diagnosis process in a child-friendly manner. It focuses on the emotional connection the remains, despite loss of memories.
MY GRANDMA HAS DEMENTIA
by Alex Winstanley and illustrated by Adam Walker-Parker
My Grandma Has Dementia is a cleverly written book that educates children and their families about the types of dementia, encouraging patience, and preparing children for their grandparents’ increased needs with physical assistance. It also normalizes the need for residential care. Bright, colorful images and rhyming lines make this an enjoyable, educational read.
Letting children know that they are not alone can validate their emotions while teaching them about the disease. Books such as these can be helpful tools to begin this educational process.