Dementia affects everyone in a family. Many resources are available for adults but only a few resources are specifically designed for the information needs of children, teenagers and young adults – indeed kids of all ages.
In a nod to National Children’s Week we take a closer look at some of the recent books, websites, articles and blogs that support the younger members in our community.
Dementia in my family is a comprehensive website catering to 5 broad age categories as well as a section talking directly to parents supporting a child who is living with dementia. Let’s take a closer look at some of the different resources offered by Dementia in My Family
“Heather’s House” is an interactive game where children will learn more about how a person living with dementia might do things a little differently and how they can support them around the home. Heather’s house appears in the 5-8 and 9-12 yo sections under About dementia
What can help?
This series of interactive cards featuring an appealing neuron, and assists children to identify the different feelings they may be experiencing through the course of a day.
There are a number of videos available on this website such as the following Talking dementia footage of teens discussing the impact of dementia on their lives.
My book about brains, change and dementia/ Lynda Moore and George Haddon (2018)
‘Sometimes, a person’s brain gets sick with a disease called dementia.’
What does dementia do to the brain? And how can we help if someone we know, like a parent or a grandparent, has the disease?
Originally developed for the website above, this book breaks down misconceptions about dementia and speaks directly to children aged under 5 about the realities of the disease, using age appropriate language in an engaging and informative way. It reassures parents of the value of open and honest conversation about the challenges raised by dementia and offers advice and support in the opening ‘Guide for grown ups’. It includes a diverse audience of characters, to emphasise that ANY child can be impacted by dementia in their loved ones. Unlike traditional storybooks, the ending provides a question for the adult and child reading it to ponder together.
I smile for grandpa (2018)
When Grandpa is diagnosed with a dementia disease, Little Buddy realizes playing soccer together won’t quite be the same. But, while the activities that Grandpa can do are changing, there is still much fun to be had. In fact, spending time with each other is as special as ever!
Using delightful and tender illustrations, dementia is compassionately explored through the innocent eyes of a child to create a greater understanding of the disease. Tips for speaking with your child as well as a useful Q&A are also included to enhance learning.
Grandma forgets / Paul Russell and Nicky Johnston. (2017)
Over the years, the little girl has built up a treasure trove of memories of time spent with Grandma: sausages for Sunday lunch, driving in her sky-blue car to the beach, climbing her apple trees while she baked a delicious apple pie, and her comforting hugs during wild storms. But now, Grandma can’t remember those memories. She makes up new rules for old games and often hides Dad’s keys. This is a warm, hopeful story about a family who sometimes needs to remind their grandmother a little more often than they used to about how much they care. She might not remember any of their names but she will always know how much she is loved.
Forgetting Foster / Dianne Touchell (2016)
Foster suddenly recognised the feeling that rolled over him and made him feel sick. It was this: Dad was going away somewhere all on his own. And Foster was already missing him.
Foster Sumner is seven years old. He likes toy soldiers, tadpole hunting, going to school and the beach. Best of all, he likes listening to his dad’s stories.
But then Foster’s dad starts forgetting things. No one is too worried at first. Foster and Dad giggle about it. But the forgetting gets worse. And suddenly no one is laughing anymore.
Before you forget / Julia Lawrinson. (2017)
At times funny, at times heartbreaking, this is an ultimately uplifting story about the delicate fabric of family and friendship, and the painful realisation that not everything can remain the same forever.
Year Twelve is not off to a good start for Amelia. Art is her world, but her art teacher hates everything she does; her best friend has stopped talking to her; her mother and father may as well be living in separate houses; and her father is slowly forgetting everything. Even Amelia.
Blog post – Talking about dementia with very young children: why it helps and how to go about it / Lynda Moore, Family clinician Dementia Australia, September 24, 2018
In this blog, Lynda Moore, family clinician at Dementia Australia introduces the new picture book about dementia, which encourages good communication with children when someone in the family has dementia.
Answering questions like ‘What is dementia?’, ‘Why might parents, grandparents and teachers find it hard to talk about dementia with young children?’ Lynda outlines the benefits of having an open conversation with young children about the condition and how this new Dementia Australia book can help.
Caroline Gelma, Kate Rhames (2018) “I have to be both mother and father”: The impact of Young-onset dementia on the partner’s parenting and the children’s experience. Dementia, Epub July 12
Sikes, P., Hall, M. (2017). Every time I see him he’s the worst he’s ever been and the best he’ll ever be”: Grief and sadness in children and young people who have a parent with dementia. Mortality, 22(4), 324–338
Sikes, P., Hall, M. (2016). “It was then that I thought ‘whaat? This is not my dad”: The implications of the ‘still the same person’ narrative for children and young people who have a parent with dementia. Dementia, 17(2), 180–198.