Author(s): Jean Demetris
When Grandma starts to become forgetful, Alice and her family create a box of memories to remind her of all the good times they have shared together. Alice puts some pretty packets of seeds in the box, to remind Grandma of their happy times planting seeds and watching them grow into beautiful flowers. Her brother Harry puts some toy animals in the box, to remind Grandma of their fun trips to the zoo when the chimpanzees made them laugh. Grandpa puts some photos from their wedding day in the box, when Grandma looked so beautiful and happy. What a lot of wonderful memories in Grandma's box! What would you put in? This beautifully-illustrated story helps to explain dementia to children aged 5 to 7 years in a gentle and engaging way, and prompts discussions about what children can do to help a grandparent living with dementia. It is an ideal starting point for family discussions and a book that dementia care professionals will want to recommend to the families they work with.
Jean Demetris was a primary school teacher for 22 years. The latter years of her career were spent teaching children in reception, an experience which set her in good stead to understand how young children engage with story books. The subject of dementia is very close to Jean's heart as 8 years ago her husband was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. She dealt with many aspects of the condition, the highs and lows, and engaged with the many agencies involved in her husband's care. Among his care needs was the importance of activities, and involvement of the whole family in these activities. This prompted the idea for Grandma's Box of Memories, a tool intended to show and encourage children to be involved in the care of family members with dementia. Alex Demetris is a London-based illustrator, cartoonist and maker of comics. Having read Film and English Studies at the University of East Anglia, he found himself working in the civil service. Six years later, he embarked on an MA in Illustration at Camberwell College of the Arts, which resulted in a 29 page comic based on his family's experience of coping with his father's dementia. Grandma's Box of Memories also touches on these experiences, and he hopes his illustrations will entertain and engage children and adults alike. Jean and Alex both live in London.