Kid Caregivers is a 501c3 nonprofit organization which supports and empowers children who are acting as caregivers. Our mission is to help young people cope and to enliven the lives of adults living with Alzheimer's disease. We offer intergenerational Puzzle Time programs and training to enhance eldercare globally. We encourage young people to use their skills to benefit the dementia community.
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 HerUnderwear 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
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!
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)
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.
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 (puzzlestoremember.org) 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 (www.alzheimersreadingroom.com) 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!