Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Publishes Children’s Book: Dancing with Granddad: An Alzheimer’s Story for Children and Their Families
*November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month*
(October 8, 2020)— If you need to explain to a young child how Alzheimer’s is affecting a family member, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has published a new picture book to help: Dancing with Granddad: An Alzheimer’s Story for Children and Their Families (Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, October 2020; ages 5 to 8, $12.95), by Linda Bozzo and illustrated by Mudassir M. Abid, available at the AFA e-store at shop.alzfdn.org or by calling 866-232-8484. All book proceeds go toward AFA programs, services, and research for treatment and a cure.
“With more than 5.8 million people in the U.S. living with Alzheimer’s today nearly every American family is affected by this disease or knows someone who is,” says Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA President and CEO. “When a family member is diagnosed, everyone is impacted, including our children—and we believe it’s never too early to start talking about it when someone you love is concerned.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the number of people living with Alzheimer’s could grow to 14 million by 2060.
“Young children, in particular, may sense that something is amiss when a family member has Alzheimer’s, but not be able to understand the subtle changes that are occurring early on in the progression of the disease,” says Jennifer Reeder, LCSW, AFA’s Director of Educational & Social Services. “The best time to talk to children about Alzheimer’s or any dementia-related illness is as soon as you can. This conversation is about nurturing and maintaining the bonds between the family members while also helping to eliminate the fear of the unknown for the child, educating them in an age-appropriate way, teaching them how to be compassionate, and learning new ways to communicate.”
Dancing with Granddad takes young readers on an age-appropriate learning journey with Nia, a 7-year-old girl, whose grandfather has Alzheimer’s and will need to move to a new home where he will be safer. Readers also learn that while he is changing, the love that Nia and her grandfather have never will.
The book gently introduces Granddad’s behavior changes (such as retelling stories, wandering, and confusion) while sharing the constant of the wonderful relationship between Nia and Granddad and her loving parents who are caring for him.
The book also includes a message from AFA about how to introduce a conversation with children about Alzheimer’s disease.
“All members of our families can love better when we understand our ailments, especially Alzheimer’s.”
Dr. Mehmet Oz, The Dr. Oz Show
“Both children and adults will connect with the tender relationship between Nia and her Granddad as they use this special book to begin or continue the often challenging conversations about Alzheimer’s.”
Dale V. Atkins, Ph.D., Psychologist
“This book is a wonderful way to start a conversation about Alzheimer’s disease with the child in your life. It is particularly important that we include children in the conversation.”
Jennifer Bauer, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin, Time for Us Camp
“Dancing with Granddad is a story of family like mine and likely yours. Much like Nia’s grandfather, my grandmother, Maria Luisa Florin, lived with Alzheimer’s disease and was very special to me.”
Luisa Echevarria, Board of Directors, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and the only one in the top ten without a cure or reversible treatment. More than 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease right now, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that number could grow to 14 million by 2060.