When My Grammy Forgets, I Remember: A Child's Perspective on Dementia
About this Series
The MSU Extension Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness for Children Storybook Program is designed to teach children about a form of dementia called Alzheimer’s disease.
The goals of the program are:
1) increase awareness and knowledge about Alzheimer’s disease, and
2) provide supportive resources to children and families when they have a loved one with the disease.
Authors of the reading guides are:
- Jennifer Munter, Volunteer Program Coordinator. Jennifer is a former Early Childhood Educator and has worked with children and their families for over 15 years.
- Marsha A. Goetting, MSU Extension Family Economics Specialist
A young girl is worried when she notices that her grandmother is having trouble reading and remembering simple things. The young girl’s parents explain her grandmother has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Questions to Ask While Reading
- Page 1 - 14: The little girl and her grammy do lots of things together. What are some of those things?
- Page 11: How do the little girl and her grammy look as they read together?
- Page 15: Grammy started acting strangely. Can you think of something strange Grammy did?
- Page 21 - 22: The little girl noticed something was wrong with her grammy. What part of Grammy’s body was making her forget things and act strangely? Do you remember what the disease is called
- Page 25 - 26: People with Alzheimer’s will often call people by the wrong name. What did Grammy call the little girl? Whose name was it?
- Page 30: When you look at Grammy and the little girl, how do you think they feel?
- Worried: A child may feel worried when their loved one begins acting strangely and can no longer take care of themselves.
- Uncertain: A child may feel uncertain about how a loved one feels about him/her.
- Sad: A child may feel sad when they realize their loved one is changing.
- Love: A child may feel love no matter what has changed.
- Brain: If you would like an arts and craft activity that you and your child can do together, download and print two of the healthy brain activity sheets. Explain to your child that our brains contain all our thoughts, memories, and feelings. Have them draw what they are thinking about. You can help them if needed. You may also illustrate on the brain what you are thinking about also.
- Weeds: Provide your child with green paper, or something equivalent, that would represent weeds. Ask your child to cut or tear the paper into strips, representing the weeds in a garden. Then glue the weeds on their brain, covering up what they drew. Explain that Alzheimer’s disease is like the weeds in a garden, they grow so thick that thoughts, memories, and feelings are blocked and cannot be reached.
Other Tools and Resources
For other tools and resources about Alzheimer’s disease, visit:
- Alliance for Aging Research:
- Alzheimer’s Association-Montana Chapter:
- Kids Health:
- Montana Alzheimer’s & Dementia Workgroup Materials:
- National Institute for Aging: www.nia.nih.gov
- Alzheimer’s Association 50 Activities
Spending time with a family member or friend in the middle or late stages of Alzheimer’s can be meaningful and fun.
Other Books in this Program
Other MSU Extension Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness for Children Storybook Program reading guides include (click on the title of the book to go to that particular reading guide link):
- Ferguson the Forgetful Frog: A Story About Dementia
by: Dr. Paul J. Gerber
Illustrated by Veronica Geran Gerber
- A Garden of Flowers: A Story About Alzheimers
by Marta Schmidt Mendez
Illustrated by Andreea Mironiuc
- My New Granny
by: Elisabeth Steinkellner
Illustrator: Michael Roher
- The Remember Balloons
by: Jessie Olivero
Illustrator by: Dana Wulfekotte
- Striped Shirts and Flowered Pants: A Story About Alzheimer’s Disease for Young
by Barbara Schnurbush
Illustrated by: Cary Pilo
- What a Beautiful Morning
by Arthur A. Levine
Illustrated by Katie Kath