An interview with Alex Winstanley, Author
Alex Winstanley, author of My Grandma Has Dementia, sat down with us to share a bit about his whirlwind of a year writing his award winning children’s book about dementia.
As a child, Alex watched his mother act as caregiver for his grandmother and struggled to understand what his grandmother was going through. With the coronavirus pandemic shifting the structure of his work, Alex found an opportunity to do what he had wanted for a while– write a children’s book exploring dementia.
Alex Winstanley is the co-founder of a non-profit organization Happy Smiles Training which focuses on providing disability and social inclusion training to businesses and organizations. He began this work after his own career as a care partner for a young adult living with a disability. Together, they aimed to provide other organizations with the necessary training to provide inclusion to all populations. Most importantly, they aimed to allow individuals living with a disability to have a platform to share their experiences with others.
Alex used “My Grandma Has Dementia” as an opportunity to explore many facets of dementia: the science, communication, engagement, and long term care. He takes challenging topics and makes them easier for kids, and sometimes adults, to comprehend. Alex’s whimsical writing is paired with eye-catching illustrations by illustrator Adam Walker-Parker. Adam used Alex’s inspiration of his grandmother and drew his character to look like Alex’s grandmother. Alex incorporated a poem at the end of his book that he shared at his grandmother’s funeral last year. Writing this book to help others guided him through the grieving process of losing his grandmother.
“children should be involved in some aspects of care, at least to know why care is being provided.”
The power of Alex’s book is that it opens up a conversation. Parents or guardians may already be struggling caring for their parents or older loved ones and may find it difficult to communicate a loved one’s changes to their children. Alex shared that he believes “passionately that children should be involved in some aspects of care, at least to know why care is being provided.” This book provides the foundation for that conversation between parents and their children to blossom and explore the emotions that may rise during the caregiving journey.
Thanks to Alex Winstanley for sharing his time with us here at Dementia Spring. To learn more about Alex and his great work, check out his Instagram @Alexwinstanleyauthor and @Happysmilestrainingcic Follow this link to purchase a copy of Alex’s book, My Grandma Has Dementia. All sales support the work done by Happy Smiles. Watch the Alex Winstanley video below: