Friday, July 31, 2015

There are Dozens of Books to Teach Children About Alzheimer's -- But Few Are Good Enough as Books or as Information

The authors of a study on children's books about memory loss in grandparents found that they missed key elements -- like reassuring children that dementia is not catching and portrayal of the progressive nature of the disease.  And most were not well-written enough to be of value.

Not only can books give children insight, she added, but also, “they can also guide parents with their discussions.”

Ms. Sakai and her co-authors were disappointed, however, by many of the 33 books they examined. “There are areas that are important to address that some books aren’t capturing,” she told me in an interview.

Like, for example? “The books did a generally good job of portraying the cognitive aspects — memory problems, poor judgment,” Ms. Sakai said. “But other elements were less well-represented.”

They include symptoms like wandering, agitation, sleep disturbances and depression. Only about a third of the books depicted anger or irritability, and very few showed functional limitations — the inability to drive, feed oneself, walk.

The researchers, arguing for more comprehensive portraits, noted that only a quarter of the books discussed the diagnostic process, and only 12 percent reassured kids that Alzheimer’s wasn’t catching and that they wouldn’t come down with it. Acknowledgments that people with the disease will get worse were rare, and references to incurability and eventual death even rarer.
Recommended by the author of the article: The Memory Box

Books to Teach Children About Alzheimer's - The New York Times

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