New Book Helps Young Children Understand Dementia

Sunrise Senior Living  |  November 10, 2015

When a loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s, it’s often difficult to explain its effects to young children. Books are a great way to help describe the complicated change occurring in your family member using words and pictures with which a child can more easily identify.

In Jessica Shepherd’s lovely book “Grandma,” devoted grandson Oscar must deal with the emotions associated with taking his loving grandma to live in a new home where she is surrounded by people who can help take care of her. His grandmother, who suffers from dementia, has good days and bad days, and the readers are gently guided through Oscar’s feelings as he struggles to understand the changes associated with his beloved grandmother’s fluctuating behavior. The artwork is simple and clear, and the message of love that weaves throughout the story is poignant.

There aren’t a great deal of books that deal with this sensitive issue for very young readers, but it’s an excellent way to deal with some of the questions associated with watching a loved one change that may be hard for young readers to verbalize. In her book, intended for children K-Gr.3, Shepherd shows Oscar’s grandma’s hospital bed, and demystifies other medical equipment that may seem strange or scary to a child. Oscar also is introduced to some of his grandmother’s new friends, which give another dimension to the new home in which she lives. In the end, Oscar is unwavering in his view that he has the best grandma in the world, despite her new surroundings.

If you have a loved one suffering from dementia and would like more information about this book, visit and use promo code SUNRISE25 at check out to receive a special 25% discount off the price of “Grandma” or any other titles purchased* via the site!

The Alzheimer’s Association is also a great resource for those struggling with explaining the disease to kids or teens. Here is a link for tips on talking to kids and here is a list of books that may serve as tools when beginning this conversation. 

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