Children’s Book Published by Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Teaches Children About Alzheimer’s Disease
“Dancing with Granddad – An Alzheimer’s Story for Children and Their Families” Available in English and Spanish
(March 23, 2021)— To help adults discuss Alzheimer’s disease with young children in an age-appropriate way, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) has published Dancing with Granddad: An Alzheimer’s Story for Children and Their Families in both English and Spanish. The book can be purchased through AFA’s e-store at shop.alzfdn.org. Proceeds go toward AFA programs, services and research toward a more effective treatment/cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
“When Alzheimer’s enters a family’s life, it often brings many questions—children especially may not understand what is happening or why their loved one is behaving a certain way,” said AFA President & CEO Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. “This educational tool gives adults a way to explain Alzheimer’s disease to a child in an age-appropriate way, answer questions and show them that love is a bond that Alzheimer’s can never break.”
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.
“Coming from a family where my grandmother, Maria Luisa Floria, lived with Alzheimer’s disease when I was young, this story is very relatable—especially the strong bond between Nia and Granddad,” said Luisa Echevarria, a member of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s Board of Directors. “Because Alzheimer’s is affecting a growing number of families, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projects Latinos to face the largest increase in Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias of any ethnic/racial group in the United States, it’s important to have this valuable educational tool available in both English and Spanish.”
The book also includes a message from AFA about how to introduce a conversation with children about Alzheimer’s disease—including sample questions to ask the child and tips to help them better understand. AFA’s Helpline, staffed entirely by licensed social workers and available seven days a week, can also provide information about discussing Alzheimer’s disease with a child or assistance with other Alzheimer’s-related questions. The Helpline can be reached by phone at 866-232-8484, web chat at www.alzfdn.org or text message at 646-586-5283. The web chat and text messages features can serve individuals in more than 90 different languages.
“Young children, in particular, may sense something is amiss when a family member has Alzheimer’s, but may not be able to understand the subtle changes that are occurring early on in the disease progression,” said Jennifer Reeder, LCSW, AFA’s Director of Educational & Social Services. “Reading this book together with your child and having a conversation can help make them more understanding and compassionate, less fearful, and ultimately learn new ways to communicate with their loved one.”
Dancing With Granddad: An Alzheimer’s Story for Children and Their Families can be purchased at AFA’s e-store by visiting shop.alzfdn.org. English and Spanish versions are available.