Groundbreaking resources for educating children about dementia
Published 4 July 2004
The Alzheimer's Society has produced its first materials to help teachers talk to and inform children and young people about dementia.
The Society is also running a drawing competition to encourage children and young people to think more about dementia and memory. The first prize is a family holiday to Disneyland Resort Paris.
The competition is featured on the leaflet 'What is dementia?', which includes easy to understand information about dementia written especially for children and young people.
The Society's education pack also includes an information sheet on explaining dementia to children, 'Understanding dementia' a detailed factsheet for children and young people and a six-minute film - entitled 'About my grandfather... about my grandmother' - which features children of all ages speaking about their experiences of having a grandparent with dementia.
Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer's Society, says:
'Alzheimer's disease and the other types of dementia are common, especially in older people. There are 750,000 people in the UK who have dementia, and millions of people care for a person with dementia.
When someone in the family develops dementia everyone is affected. Children and young people need support in understanding what is happening to a relative who no longer remembers their name, or who starts to act differently.
We hope that these resources will help children and young people understand more about Alzheimer's disease and all other forms of dementia. We want to help children and young people cope when a relative has dementia - to explain, to support them and to alleviate their fears.'
The Society's new resources will be launched to coincide with Alzheimer's Awareness Week® which will take place in England and Wales from 4 - 10 July.
'The key message of the week is that we all need to understand what dementia is. Only then can we promote greater understanding and help everyone, whatever their age, deal with the impact of dementia,'
says Neil Hunt.
Quotes from children and young people about dementia
'People in my class talk about their grandparents going to places and buying exotic things. The teacher asks if we have grannies who bring back things, but I don't put my hand up because my granny's in a home.'
'When my grandfather forgot my name I felt like he didn't actually love me anymore, which is why he was forgetting me. But then I found out it was because of dementia.'
'When I heard granny had Alzheimer's I didn't really know what it was and then my mum explained it to me, saying that it's like when part of your brain starts to malfunction and you start to forget things.'
'My grandfather talks about things from the past, when he was a young kid and the games he used to play, but if we ask him what happened yesterday he will not remember.'
'My granny sometimes asked me when her sister was coming over to see her, and she'd forgotten her sister had actually died. So we had to explain it to her that she'd died and my granny would get really upset and tell us that she didn't know and we hadn't told her.'
Notes for editors
- The Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading care and research charity for people with dementia and their carers and celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2004.
- Over 750,000 people in the UK have dementia. More than half have Alzheimer's disease. Dementia affects one in 20 people over the age of 65 and one in five over the age of 80.
- There are 18,500 people in the UK under the age of 65 with dementia.
- For information and advice on Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia call the Alzheimer's Society national helpline on 0845 300 0336
- Our website address is: http://www.alzheimers.org.uk/
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