Children impacted by dementia in their family can now seek information and support from a new website, www.dementiainmyfamily.org.au.
The interactive, age-appropriate site, developed by Alzheimer’s Australia Vic, gives children the opportunity to learn more about dementia, watch other children share their experiences in videos, play games and share their own stories.
For pre-schoolers, there is an online audio book Brains, change and big long names written by Alzheimer’s Australia Vic Family Clinician, Lynda Moore, illustrated by celebrated cartoonist, George Haddon and read by broadcaster, Libbi Gorr.
The site also features Heather’s House, an interactive game where children will learn more about how a person living with dementia might do things a little differently and how they can support them around the home.
Alzheimer’s Australia Vic CEO Helen McCabe said, “The website aims to validate the experience of children and acknowledges the significant impact and the areas of life affected when someone important to them is living with a dementia.”
Izzy Bolt Gardener, 12, one of a group of children whose lives are impacted by dementia, was invited to test the website prior to the launch.
“The site really helped me to understand what is making Grandma act differently to how she used to,” Izzy said.
“I get now that when she says strange things or forgets things that it’s a problem with her brain and she can’t control it. There’s a book for littler kids on there that I wish I’d had when we were younger, to help me and my brother understand back when it all started happening.”
Alzheimer’s Australia Vic Ambassadors Sam Mitchell (Hawthorn Football Club, AFL) and Amy Jackson (Melbourne City, W-League) jumped at the opportunity to be involved in the website. In a video called “Team Talk” they encourage kids to talk about dementia with their family, think of ways they might be able to help out and consider themselves as part of a team in caring for a person living with dementia.
Sam Mitchell, pictured above at the launch of the site, revealed, “My mother-in-law sadly died from younger onset dementia and her experience had a huge impact on our family. I’m really passionate about sharing what we learned to help others, especially kids, who people sometimes forget are impacted by the dementia too.”
Expert family counsellors developed the website’s content through extensive consultation with young people who use the organisation’s services to ensure it meets their needs.
“Families and young people we work with identified that there was very little available to specifically support kids when there is dementia in a family so we wanted to deliver something that met that need. The site is engaging and relevant to all children, regardless of their age or whether the person in their lives who has dementia is a parent, grandparent, relative or friend,” said Ms McCabe.
This is a wonderful site! It has great information about dementia for young people and some really fun things too!