Explaining Alzheimer’s to children

Why did grandmaputMax Wallack and Carolyn Given wrote a book for children explaining Alzheimer’s  called:  Why Did Grandma Put Her Underwear in the Refrigerator? 


‘Max says: ‘I believe it is important for children to understand Alzheimer’s disease so they can still interact lovingly with their grandparents. I am a 17-year-old college junior, Alzheimer’s researcher and advocate. I grew up as a caregiver to my great grandmother who had Alzheimer’s disease. After her death, I founded a nonprofit organization that has distributed over 24,000 puzzles to Alzheimer’s facilities. Recently, the book I coauthored explaining this disease to children became available on Amazon. My hope was to provide some helpful coping mechanisms to the many children dealing with Alzheimer’s disease among their family members. Fifty percent of the profits from this book will go to Alzheimer’s causes. I think this book could help a lot of children and families.’

Well, when my late husband was ill and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, I needed to find a way to explain this illness to my own young grandchildren. After agonizing about how to do this, I came up with the following:

Papa has an illness called Alzheimer’s that makes him act the way he does. It’s like having a broken leg, but with Papa, a little piece of his brain is broken and doesn’t work the way it should. Because of this, he can’t remember what you told him yesterday. Because of this, he forgets how to use the television remote. Because of this, he sometimes falls asleep when you are in the  middle of telling him somethhing important. Because of this, he forgets people’s names, but the part of Papa’s brain that is for loving, still works well, and I know that he loves you all very much.


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