Children's Books Can Help When a Grandparent Transitions to a Care Home | Miki's Hope

Children's Books Can Help When a Grandparent Transitions to a Care Home

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


It's never an easy decision to place a grandparent in a nursing home or a long-term care facility. It can be especially hard on children who have become accustomed to having grandma or grandpa around on a regular basis. Children are more perceptive than you may think. While they may understand that grandpa sometimes needs special care or that granny sometimes forgets, they may not fully understand why it's time to make the transition to a care home. There are books written on a child's level that can help make the transition a little easier for children.


Finding the Right Book

Start by finding a book that best resembles your particular family situation. Children tend to identify with certain characters in a book, which makes it easier to comprehend the lessons being taught. Here are some popular books on the subject:

My New Granny by Elisabeth Steinkellner, Michael Roher - This book tells the story of a little girl named Fini. She always loved her grandmother's sense of adventure. She would cook, feed the ducks, and had traveled all over the world. Fini's grandmother eventually comes to live with Fini's family. She notices that she now needs special care and that's not acting the way she once did. Instead of feeding the ducks, she eats the breadcrumbs meant for the ducks and does not cook or travel anymore. The book explains the painful decisions that a family has to make when dealing with an older grandparent in a way that children can understand.

Still My Grandma by Veronique Van Den Abeele - This book tells the story of a little girl named Camille and her special relationship with her grandmother. The relationship changes as her grandmother shows signs of Alzheimer's disease. The focus of this book is on finding creative ways to maintain a relationship with a grandparent once they are in a care facility and dealing with certain conditions that change how they act. This books shows children how to maintain some type of relationship with a grandparent.

Emma's Question by Catherine Urdahl - This book focuses on what happens when a grandparent is dealing with an illness and needs special care. While not specifically about a nursing home or care facility, this book can help children when a grandparent has go away to a short-term or long-term care facility due to an illness.

What's Happening to Grandpa? by Maria Shriver - This books focuses on the relationship between a child and her grandfather. Kate always loved the way her grandfather would tell her stories. Lately though, he's been telling the same stories over and over and even forgets Kate's name. Eventually, he needs to go to a long-term care facility. Written from a child's viewpoint, this book makes the transition process easier to understand.

Answering Questions

“It's a good idea to read these books with your children so that you can answer any questions they may have as they read”, says Steve Miller a frequent contributor for elder care finder from AssistedLivingToday.com. Take a break during certain parts of the book to encourage questions. If you're not sure exactly how to answer all your children's questions, ask the caregiver or the facility if they could send someone over to help answer questions that you and your children may have. Many local senior center's have additional brochures and other information you can use to answer your children's questions.

Focus on the Positive

It's natural to be sad when a beloved grandparent has to transition to a care facility, but don't dwell on this aspect of the move. Instead of telling your child that "grandpa can't live here anymore," focus on the positive by saying "grandpa is moving to a place where he will have people making him lots of good food and giving him extra special care to keep him safe and happy." You're not sugarcoating anything, you're just placing an emphasis on the positive. This is a lesson that can be appreciated by children of all ages - even grownups.

Additional Resources

Always My Grandpa: A Story for Children about Alzheimer's Disease by Linda Scacco

The Memory Box by Mary Bahr

Grandpa Has Changed (Live and Learn Series) by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos

Striped Shirts and Flowered Pants: A Story about Alzheimer's Disease for Young Children by Barbara Schnurbush
Allie Learns About Alzheimer's Disease: A Family Story about Love, Patience, & Acceptance by Kim Gosselin





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19 comments :

Diane Estrella said...

Great resources to know about if they are ever needed.

Erin said...

Thank you for this. As a counselor, I'm always looking for books and resources for kids. Love this and will go check out the books.

Thanks!

moo77hb said...

Thank you so much for sharing this! Our kids are young and we have been dealing with this lately!

Stacey Donaldson said...

What a brilliant post. Books are a wonderful way to transition in so many different situations. When my daughter was little she was terrified of going to Kindergarten, so we started reading the Junie B. Jones series, if it wasn't for those books she may have never started school! LOL

Tamara said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I often am at a loss for sharing information and you are right books are good to help. I hope I can remember this when we go through something again.

Melinda Dunne said...

I think making these type of decisons is so sad. My grandparents never lived long enough to have to be in a care facility. I think it is wonderful to have resources available to help children cope and understand the situation.

Cyndie said...

Great review and a topic we must all deal with at one time or another

MzBaker said...

This is a Great Post we all have to deal with these things at one point or another.

Mel Cole said...

I like the positive thinking you had in your post. It is sad to have grama or pappy go to the nursing home but they will get the extra care they needed there.

nova hedges said...

Thank you for sharing this amazing stories. nobody likes to leave faraway from their families, at least give them some comfort in different ways

Chubskulit Rose said...

It is hard indeed. MY FIL is almost 91 and he still live in his own home. He doesn't want to be put in ab home.

miki said...

Thank you a lot for having thought about sharing those books. kids can be really perceptive yes... i do remember how it was for me unfurtunately she had to go to hospital and never go out but seeing her changing was terrifying and i would have loved to have a book like that to help

Heather Smith said...

THanks for the great list of resources!

Clairity said...

Very useful. Great list of resources, thanks.

Celebrate Woman said...

I am always amazed what the books can do in time of crisis and in times of joy.
Reading a book together with your kids brings the family so much tighter together! The emotional links are the most powerful ones.

Terri's Little Haven (Terri Ramsey Beavers) said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm bookmarking the site for future reference.

Sofia @ From PDX with Love said...

All great resources! Thanks! I doubt either my parents or my mother in law would end in a housing community, and if they do my boys will be old enough to understand...great books nonetheless.

Betsy Barnes said...

You have wonderful resources here, very helpful :)

Jennifer Williams said...

I love that there are so many resources to help children adjust to things that life brings their way. This sounds like a great resource though hope to never need it.

 
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