Written by Grace Stead
20 March 2019
Reading Friends has been working with people who have dementia since the start of the project. We’ve recently received copies of ‘My grandma is magic’ by author Grace Stead at Enrichment for the Elderly, to encourage young people and people living with dementia to read together.
Reading Friends and Dementia
The Alzheimer’s Society estimates that there are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia and that this number will grow to one million by 2025. 21 million people in the UK know someone with dementia and there are over half a million people caring for people with the condition in England. A staggering one in three people can expect to care for someone with dementia during their lifetime.
Reading Friends has been working with people who have dementia since the start of the project in 2017, and we’ve had some great success.
So, how did this book come about?
When my Nan was living with dementia, I often struggled to connect with her. I didn’t know what to say. Even when I did, I could often run out of conversation.
I didn’t know what to do, how could I re-connect with her after conversation had failed me?
One Monday when I visited her at her care home, I mentioned that I was watching ‘Call the Midwife’ on TV and her eyes lit up. I started talking about the show and the way nothing seemed too much for the midwives. We also chatted about how they set up different craft and ‘keep fit’ groups in the community hall. She said ‘I remember those days’ and smiled.
From then on, I went home and found the ‘Call the Midwife’ book. Every time I visited we would read it together. I would read out loud but we would share in the story together. Sometimes getting through whole chapters, other times just through a page, but each time it connected Nan and me and helped us to reminiscence together.
I was inspired to write my own book about how I saw my Nan’s experience of dementia. The book explores dementia from a child’s perspective and is designed for reading aloud with children. I hope to dispel the negativity around the condition, as I wouldn’t have been able to connect in the same way to my Nan without her dementia and reading aloud coming together in the most perfect way.
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