October 13, 2014

Stories for children and young adults featuring dementia

These resources are available for loan to members of AANSW - if you would like to reserve them please email the Library on nsw.library@alzheimers.org.au 

Under the rose bush
by Jane Fry and Sandi Harrold
Under the rose bush is a short story which explores a touching relationship between a young girl and her grandmother who develops Alzheimer?s disease.
Sarah and her Granny are great friends. They spend a lot of time playing and learning together, gradually Sarah notices changes in her Granny. Sarah learns to adjust to the situation as her grandmother ages. Her story provides a sense of optimism despite the grief of eventually losing her beloved grandmother. The book helps children to understand the illness and teaches them how to cope with supporting their grandparents through a difficult time.
The book will appeal to parents with small children and elderly relatives. It would also appeal to retirement homes or nursing homes.

The Dementia Diaries: a novel in cartoons
by Matthew Snyman
The Dementia Diaries are a collection of stories about young people and their experiences with dementia. The good days, the bad days, and everything in between. Full of handy tips and stories that show you the other side of dementia by those who know it best. Also...submarines! Cats! Scarecrows! Dance Parties!

Curveball : the year I lost my grip
by Jordan Sonnenblick
After an injury ends former star pitcher Peter Friedman's athletic dreams, he concentrates on photography which leads him to a girlfriend, new fame as a high school sports photographer, and a deeper relationship with the beloved grandfather who, when he realizes he has dementia, gives Pete all of his professional camera gear.
This book beautifully intertwines 4 topics (photography, baseball, dementia and first loves) into a relatable teenage story.

Downeast ledge: a novel
by Norman Gilliland
Changing times and personal failings have brought life to a standstill for the natives of Ashton, Maine. On the far side of the river that divides the coastal town, the prosperous summer residents come and go, seemingly complacent, without having much to do with the locals. But when Amber Waits crosses the river to take a job as a caregiver to Walter Sterling who has dementia, all bets are off. She finds herself thrown into the troubled lives of Walt, his distracted wife Geneva, and their resentful and reckless daughter Karen. And although he seems unaware of his surroundings, Walt begins to exert a strange influence on Amber and her friends. The mixing continues, and Karen becomes determined to make a dream come true by taking up with Robin Dunning, a local seafarer with a shadowy past and questionable future. As Amber tries to fend off one catastrophe after another, she has to come to terms with a hang-up of her own and muster her courage and resourcefulness to save her friends and herself. This story is about people connecting the dots to complete their images of others, for better or worse. 

Why did grandma put her underwear in the refrigerator?
by Max Wallack
Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator?" is a short story which explains Alzheimer's disease to children. It is written by 17 year old Max Wallack who, at a young age, lived with and was a caregiver for his great grandmother.
This may be the best book I have read about Alzheimer's and advanced dementia care. It is simple and should be read by every person, adult or child, who knows someone with Alzheimer's disease/dementia, which means, everyone in the world should have a copy of this book.
This book is the first good resource I have found for kids who live with a loved one with dementia and really captures what life is like for them. Being a caregiver as a child is difficult. They have to figure out how to be a child in an environment that is not always kid friendly. It can also be scary and sad for them to watch their grandparent change and get sicker. It is hard for them to figure out how to communicate with their loved one as the dementia progresses. This book talked honestly and compassionately about these issues which can help kids understand living in a situation that most of their friends will not be experiencing. My son Jeffrey's review of the book, will help explain how a child relates to the book.
Jeffrey's Review: A Child's Perspective
Jeffrey is nine years old and for two and a half years he lived in the same home with his grandmother with dementia. Now he lives just a few miles away and visits her often.
"A lot of the book sounds like when we lived with Beep (that is what we call his grandmother). There was the part where the girl dresses up for Halloween but it scares her grandmother so she has to take off her costume and can't go trick-or-treating. Sometimes there are things I couldn't do when we lived with Beep because it upset her or was too confusing for her. That would make me mad but I also knew she was sick. I wanted to be able to do what other kids could do at home. The girl in the book also had fun with her grandma though, and I had fun with Beep, like our Edamame War. I understood the book and it sounded a lot like our life, except Beep is a lot sicker now."
When I visit granny Jean
by Elizabeth Maltman
This picture book is aimed at younger children. In the story a little girl called Grace describes incidents which show how the behaviour of her Granny changed which is why she has gone to live in a care home.


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