Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Going Into Their World

My friend Katie joined me at the nursing home today. She spent time with her “grandma” Dorothy. Dorothy is not really her grandma, but they like to pretend. The two of them really enjoy spending time together. Dorothy has ZERO visitors. It is so sad. She always recognizes Katie. It is very touching.   Katie’s parents are thrilled that she is making a big difference in someone's life. Katie gave Dorothy a shiny penny. Dorothy said, “ I love the gold coin.” Katie told me what happened after we led the nursing home. She said, “I know that the penny has a copper alloy, but I am not going to correct Dorothy, I will go into her world.”  I am thrilled that my friends are learning about AD and how to be a good caregiver to someone with dementia.


Grandma loves knitting. She learned to knit when she was a kid.  When someone learns something when their brain is young, it is stored in their memory bank really well.  So they are able to remember stuff.  When people are seniors their storage banks are not as good as when they were younger, especially if they have Alzheimer's disease. When they have Alzheirmer's disease the storage bank is very weak and damaged. A memory could go into it, but it can fall through the drawer of the memory bank.  Sometimes the bank can hold the memory for a little bit, but not for long.

Knitting gives grandma joy. She loves to teach me how to do it.  We are making scarves for each other. I am very happy when I knit with grandma. She told everyone at the nursing home that she will make a scarf for them.  All people like to feel useful and grandma feels good when she is offering to help other people.


1. Find out what your loved one enjoys doing. Did they have a hobby?
2. Here is an example: If your loved one was a mechanic, give them some tools and let them "tinker with them"
3. Did they like gardening?  (Milk carton and seeds, draw pictures of plants, cut out pictures of plants and create a collage.)  You get the idea...
4. Everyone has something that they like doing.  Spend time doing that activity together.
5. If you do not know what your loved one likes to do, ask your parents or other relatives, friends. They will know!
6. You can make the activity easier for your loved one by making a few changes. I will not make a complicated sweater with a difficult pattern, but a simple scarf is easy to make and a lot of fun!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Good Morning America!

Hi everyone!  I was on TV today.  I spoke to the actor Will Smith about my passion to help people with Alzheimer's disease. I am very grateful to Hasbro and the GenerationOn organization for giving me such an amazing "once in a lifetime" opportunity!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Eggplant Parmagiana

Grandma used to eat eggplant parmagiana often. It was her favorite dish to order when she went out to dinner. We took grandma out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants: Manduccati's.  We ordered eggplant parmagiana for grandma and she was so happy. She immediately started telling us stories about how she loves it, but could never make it at home.  She had such a good time. Food is a very good way to put people in wonderful moods. My cats are thrilled when we serve them a Fancy Feast treat, so you can imagine how a person may feel if they can eat what they love to eat!
I know grandma loves being with ME, but having eggplant and ME at the same time, gave her so much joy!  What is your loved one's favorite meal?


Friday, December 9, 2016

I will be appearing on GOOD MORNING AMERICA

Great news! I am going to be on GOOD MORNING AMERICA on Monday morning, December 12th! I will be discussing my organizations: Kid Caregivers ( and Puzzles To Remember ( Please tune in or set your DVRs. 

Image result for Good Morning America

I :-)

I Would Love To Hear From My Readers :-)

Good Morning Everyone!

I just wanted to share with you my email address:  If you would like to share your stories, experiences or ask questions. I will be happy to answer them.  It would be really nice to hear from you.  I can also share your question with our audience and see if we can all come up with a solution!

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Also, stay turned I have some awesome news to share in a little while!

All the best,

Friday, December 2, 2016


Grandma always did volunteer work. Here are some of the things she used to do: tutor kids,  girl scout leader, collected food and clothes for the homeless, visited sick people in the hospital,  visited residents in nursing homes who did not have visitors., raised money for many organizations. It is a long list. My parents also do a lot of volunteer work. So it makes sense that I would also want to be like them.  I wanted to share two activities that I have been doing in addition to my regular "Kid Caregivers" activities.
Collecting coats for NY Cares ( and helping to collect and sort food for the food bank.  

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Day After Thanksgiving

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I brought my friend Katie to the nursing home on Friday. Many of the residents do not have family to visit them, so they are really lonely around the holidays. We spent time solving puzzles and sharing the Hasbro pets.  Some of the residents can no longer talk but they can pet a fluffy pet and smile!  

Monday, November 14, 2016

Hasbro Companion Pets

Most people LOVE pets. They make people happy. But unfortunately many seniors who are living alone or who are living in an assisted living facility/nursing home cannot have a live pet. I took the  Hasbro Joy For All Companion Pets to my grandma's nursing home.  WOW!  Everyone loved them so much.  The staff went nuts, but most importantly, the seniors were in love.  My mom took a video of me showing Sam and his wife the Habro pets.  Sam has Alzheimer's disease and is not very happy all the time.  When I gave him the Hasbro dog, he fell in love. It was so wonderful to see Sam so joyful.  Sam gets mad a lot and sometimes cries. It is very hard to live with dementia. Spending just a few minutes with the Hasbro dog made him enjoy himself.  The whole nursing room floor was laughing and having fun.  PLEASE, if you can, get a Hasbro Companion Pet for your loved one. I PROMISE you that they will have a good time and you will have one, too!

Brain Coral

Greetings everyone! I just came back from a wonderful vacation in the Turks & Caicos Islands. It was a lot of fun. There were beautiful seashells and coral along the beach. I found brain coral. It is called brain coral because it looks like a human brain. I found a large nicely formed piece and a smaller piece of brain coral. I realized that the pieces of coral could be used as a scale model to show the difference between a normal brain and an atrophied (wasted, shrunken) brain of someone with Alzheimer's disease. I will use my scale models to teach other children about Alzheimer's disease. It helps if kids can see the scale models and hold them. As you can see, the left "brain" is larger, and fuller with very small "ventricles" (the hollow space between each part of the brain). The scale model on the right shows a shrunken brain with large "ventricles" (empty space) between each part of the brain.

Brain Coral

Greetings everyone! I just came back from a wonderful vacation in the Turks & Caicos Islands. It was a lot of fun. There were beautiful seashells and coral along the beach. I found brain coral. It is called brain coral because it looks like a human brain. I found a large nicely formed piece and a smaller piece of brain coral. I realized that the pieces of coral could be used as a scale model to show the difference between a normal brain and an atrophied (wasted, shrunken) brain of someone with Alzheimer's disease. I will use my scale models to teach other children about Alzheimer's disease. It helps if kids can see the scale models and hold them. As you can see, the left "brain" is larger, and fuller with very small "ventricles" (the hollow space between each part of the brain). The scale model on the right shows a shrunken brain with large "ventricles" (empty space) between each part of the brain.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Using an iPod Shuffle With Your Loved One

I saw the documentary: Alive Inside.( It inspired me. The documentary is about Alzheimer's patients who listen to music and feel alive when they hear it. I think it is a great idea!  It is helpful to use music that your loved one will understand and remember from the olden days. Most seniors today have special memories of music from the 1930's, 1940's, 1950's.  I plan to get some iPod Shuffles and download music from those time periods. I like using headphones because my grandma and many seniors are hard of hearing and listening with a headphone helps to make the music sound louder.

1. Choose music that your loved one would enjoy.
2. As they are listening to the music ask them about it
3. Use good quality earphones, especially if the person is hard of hearing
4. Use an iPod Shuffle. It can download many many songs
5. Most seniors like music from 1920's - 1950's
6 Try to find out the favorite type of music that the loved one enjoys. 
(For example: Big Band, Jazz, Swing, classical music)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Questions and Answers

Hi Everyone!  I hope you are having a nice weekend. I am recovering from a cough, but hopefully I will feel better tomorrow, and spend some time with grandma.  I just wanted to let everyone know that I am available to offer advice and support if you have a concern.  If any of my readers are experiencing a problem involving a loved one with dementia, I am here to help. I have learned a lot and can offer help for kids.  So please contact me, either with a comment in the comments section or you can ask your question in an email to my account:  I will share your question or concern, offer a suggestion and ask readers to also offer solutions. TOGETHER WE CAN HELP EACH OTHER!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

One of the Winners of the Hasbro Community Action Heroes Award

Hi Everyone!  I am very excited to report that I am one of the 10 winners of the Hasbro Community Action Heroes Award.  I just wanted to share the good news as soon as possible!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Working With Wikki Stix

Crafts for Kids

I love working with Wikki Stix (  I have built scale models of a volcano, made a model tooth, created a flower diagram.  Wikki Stix activities are good for both kids and their loved ones. So I decided to try using them with grandma!
They are sticky sticks, they stretch, bend, and will stick to almost anything.  Mom researched it and told me that it is non-toxic.  I bought some of the Wikki Stix and tried making jewelry with grandma. She LOVED it. People with dementia like to use their hands. We KNOW they love to solve puzzles. But they also benefit from many art activities where they can be creative.  Playing with Wikki Stix can be a wonderful activity for people with Alzheimer's disease. Grandma created many shapes, and then we both decided to make matching bracelets. I am happy that grandma was able to copy the bracket that I made. Now we have a special keepsake! 

  1. Let your loved one create whatever they would like
  2. Try to make a shape like a heart, and ask them to copy the shape with their stick (this exercises their brain!)
  3. Sort the sticks by color
  4. There is no correct way to play with them, use your imagination
Grandma copies my shapes
We design a bracelet
Adding finishing touches
Proud of our work!
We love our matching bracelets!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Playing the OSMO Game System with Grandma

Today, Grandma and I worked with the Osmo Game System. (  We worked on Tangrams and Word Games.  Grandma loved it!  She was amazed with the technology and kept saying, "we did not have these things when I was a little girl."  A Tangram is a type of puzzle where you have to make a shape.  Tangrams are available as wooden pieces, and you do not need an iPad to use them, but it was a lot of fun using Osmo to solve them.  We then played a word game on Osmo.  It has different levels. We started with the Easy level. There is a picture clue and you need to fill in the words using your alphabet letters. Believe it or not, grandma did very well we got up to the advanced level!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Using An iPad With A Dementia Patient

I love to use my iPad for learning about new things.  I also realize that grandma can enjoy an iPad too. There are many apps that could be used with dementia patients.  Grandma and I had a lot of fun playing Stack The States.  There are special apps that are very useful with dementia patients.  In the next few weeks, I will be reviewing apps for Alzheimer's patients, and give you my opinion.  In the mean time, I suggest that you take out your iPad and explore it with your loved one!  (I am trying to create an app, but I am only 9 years old, need to learn a lot about coding first! :-)

Tips For Using the iPad or Tablet With a Dementia Patient

  1. Do not worry about the rules
  2. Be patient (Grandma was amazed that she could touch the screen to make things move
  3. Choose activities that your loved one enjoys
  4. Show the person beautiful flowers or places
  5. Listen to music and play fun games

Monday, June 20, 2016

Teaching Kids In My Class

Today I was able to teach my classmates about Alzheimer's disease.  I used the smart board and did a presentation.  I explained to the students a little bit about what the disease does to the brain and the ways that people with the disease act.  I then read the book: Why Did Grandma Leave Her Underwear in the Refrigerator by Max Wallack and Carolyn Given.  After reading the book I answered lots of questions from my classmates.  I even found out that a boy in my class also has a grandmother with the disease!  I did not even know that, we never talked about our grandmas!

 I would like to thank my teacher, Ms. Zelwinder for letting me do my presentation!


1. Ask your teacher if you can do presentation about Alzheimer' disease for your classmates.  
2. Read a book to the class about the disease
3. Answer questions that your classmates may have about the disease
4. Have your classmates share their feelings about the disease

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day

I learned to be a good caregiver by watching my dad care for all of the people that he loves. He cares for me when I am feeling good and when I am sick. He helps my mom wash the dishes, and cleans the house.  When mom is not well he takes care of her, too. He helps take care of grandma. He also took care of his grandma, who was my GREAT grandma GG.  I love him so much and am proud of my dad!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Making Friends

Many seniors REALLY like kids.  Whenever we work on puzzles with seniors we try to become friends with them.  So we are not just working on puzzles but making friends too!  We became friends with Dorothy.  She has mild dementia which means she was able to talk a lot and understand us. She is in her nineties.  After we solved the puzzle with her, we talked to her about the olden days and sang the song, "Follow The Yellow Brick Road". Since her name is Dorothy, she had the name of the lead character in the Wizard of Oz.  Here are some tips:


1. Introduce yourself to the seniors in the nursing home
2. Tell them a little bit about yourself (your name, your age, your grade)
3. After solving a puzzle, talk to the senior about something fun.
4. Thank them for solving the puzzle with you
5. Give them a compliment. (for example: "your hair looks nice, you have such a nice smile, I love your nail polish)
6. Smile and give hugs!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My Friend, Katie is a guest poster today!

Hello everyone! Today I thought it would be good idea if a friend writes in. One of my very best friends, loves helping people in many different ways. She was very exited when I told  her she could be a guest writer. WELL WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, MY FRIEND KATIE WILL WRITE HER POST!

Hello, my name is Katie and I'm one of Hailey's very close friends. Even though it's sad that Hailey's grandma has Alzheimer's Disease, there are things that I can to to help that are very fun. And I feel happy and proud caring for her.  I also like to work with other seniors at the nursing home.We like to do "Puzzles To Remember". It is a special type of puzzle that helps make the brain work better. Puzzles To Remember, created by Max Wallack,  makes Hailey's Grandma feel happy and relaxes her mind.  I love working as an assistant for Hailey and being a caregiver. I hope they find a cure. I also hope other people are inspired by Max, Hailey, me, and the other caregivers.    

This is my best friend who just wrote a post.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Guest Post From My Mom :-)

My name is Emma Richman and I am Hailey's proud mom. I would like to share a bit of our background which led up to Hailey's role as Assistant Director at Puzzles To Remember ( and starting her blog: Kid Caregivers.

My father (Hailey's grandfather) was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease (AD) in 2007 and passed away in 2008.  During that difficult time, I researched blogs that dealt with dementia. I was looking for support. I found a phenomenal blog called: The Alzheimer's Reading Room ( created by Bob DeMarco.  That web blog was a lifeline for me.  HIs blog: gave me advice, comfort, made me cry and laugh. He shared his tribulations involving his mother who had Alzheimer's disease, informed me about the latest information regarding the disease and gave me hope. If I did not have his online support, I would have become seriously depressed and isolated from the world.

One day, Bob posted a story about Max Wallack, an empathetic child prodigy who cared for his great grandmother when he was only 8 years old. After his great grandmother passed away, he started Puzzles To Remember (a 501(c3) charitable organization which distributes puzzles to AD facilities and nursing homes. Research has shown that puzzle-solving stimulates the visual cortex (occipital lobe). This action,  may reduce agitation, calm, and stimulate memory function in people with dementia. I wanted to become involved in the organization. I contacted Max and set up collection boxes for puzzles. I brought them to the Veteran's Home where my father was a resident in his final year of life. Max sent over boxes of puzzles to the Veteran's Home as well.

Sadly, in 2010, my mother was in the early stages of dementia. At this point, Hailey was 4 years old. She would visit mom and together they would solve puzzles. Hailey had an understanding and maturity not typical for a four year old (in my humble opinion :-)  She kept mom engaged and it was a very happy and productive time for both grandmother and granddaughter!  Other residents at mom's facility started participating in puzzle-solving with Hailey. As we know, children and seniors are a lovely combination, which benefits both parties. As Hailey grew, her involvement with Puzzles To Remember (PTR) increased. She started collecting more puzzles with me and we delivered them to facilities. She also saved up her allowance and sent PTR donations throughout the year. Max was impressed with Hailey's involvement and at the age of eight, he appointed her the honorable title: Assistant Director of Puzzles to Remember. She takes that role seriously and is now involving several friends, her school, library and community in puzzle collecting. She is planning to create a "summer camp" made up of kid volunteers who will go with her to nursing homes and spend time with the the seniors puzzle-solving.

According to the National Alliance for Caregiving there are at least 1.3 million children between the ages of 8 and 18 who are caregivers. Hailey realized that children can make a big difference in the world.  Unfortunately, Hailey and I had difficulty finding other kids who are going through the same thing as Hailey.  There were times, when Hailey would have loved to know that there were other kids "out there"; who are also going through similar experiences. As the saying goes, "necessity is the mother of invention", so Hailey created the type of support group that she would have loved for herself. Her goal is for kids to have a platform to share ideas, offer tips, and get advice. She shares her experiences, to model for other kids.  Kid Caregivers is in its infancy, since the seed was launched in February. I am excited to report that there are readers from: India, Africa, Greece, Germany, Israel, Russia, UK and the United States. Clearly caregiving is a worldwide issue and for children a very sensitive one. Her goal is to let other kids know that they are not alone. Hopefully, her dream of reaching "hundreds" of kids will become a reality. So please spread the word.  Thank you for reading her blog!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Puzzle Day - Have You Solved Any Puzzles With A Loved One?

I recruited my good friend and we spent the day with the seniors at my mom's nursing facility. We were very productive. All the seniors that we worked with were very happy during our puzzle activities. We let the seniors take the lead. If they needed help we directed them, if they seemed independent we encouraged them to solve the puzzles.