What My Grandma Means To Say: Helping kids understand Alzheimer’s Disease

I’ve had this gem of a story in my hands for a number of months. I’ve been hanging on to it to share this month because January is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. I am so happy to be able to share it with you today.

What My Grandma Means to Say written by Canadian author JC Sulzenko, is an amazing story about an eleven year-old boy named Jake and his struggle with understanding the changes his grandma undergoes while battling Alzheimer’s Disease.

I have a story to tell you. It’s a story with a lot of truth in it. Once you’ve heard it, you can make up your own mind about whether it leaves you a little bit happy, hopeful or sad – or a mix of all three. That’s up to you.

This story is written for children in grades 4 to 6, but to be honest it spoke to me on such an intimate level. You can learn about my experience with Alzheimer’s Disease through a previous post on City Mom. What you’ll notice is that my story is almost identical to Jake’s.

Reading this story reminded me of my struggles with understanding what was happening to my Grandpa and my Grandma. It caused me to reflect on a time that I felt like I had lost them. A time that caused a constant battle in my heart and mind; visiting them was too painful but not visiting was just as upsetting.

I wish that What My Grandmas Means to Say  had been in circulation at that time in my life. The author accurately captures the feelings that a young child experiences when dealing with a loved one experiencing Alzheimer’s and dementia.


This story helps to create a dialogue for parents when discussing and educating their children about Alzheimer’s Disease. It assists in answering those tough questions that perhaps even adults have trouble understanding. At the end of the story there is a section included of questions and answers that covers things like the different stages of the disease, tips for visiting loved ones suffering etc.


As mentioned, this story is intended for children from the ages of 9 -11 but I think that it is suitable for children of all ages who are old enough to understand that their loved ones are changing. It will help to comfort the child and provided that feeling of “I’m not alone.”


What My Grandmas Means to Say can be purchased through General Store Publishing House online and through Chapters.ca for $12.95.

What experience do you have with Alzheimer’s Disease? How have you educated your children on the topic?