I would like to welcome Matthew Adams to our blog this month. He is trying to provide a solution to a very difficult question-how do you explain dementia to a child when we ourselves are having trouble understanding it? I applaud his efforts and hope that the Ally Bally Bee Project helps destigmatize dementia and create more dementia-friendly communities.
How do you explain dementia to a six year old? As a parent, how am I supposed to turn to my daughter and explain the reasons behind granny’s strange and often frightening behaviour? The reasons granny doesn’t laugh and joke like she used to? The reasons why granny doesn’t even recognise her own grandchild?
The Ally Bally Bee Project is on a mission to make such difficult conversations a little easier with our personalised children’s book about dementia. Simply visit the website; select whether the book is for a little boy or girl; type in their name; do the same for the person living with dementia; and then, with a few clicks, have the book delivered straight to your door anywhere in the world (or download it as an e-book).
The end product will be a beautifully illustrated book about dementia in the family – where your child (or maybe niece or nephew) is the main character. A book where the person with dementia is your mother or your father. Perhaps ‘granny’ is called ‘nana’ – or maybe it’s ‘uncle Sam’ who has dementia?
Through our project we want to achieve three main objectives:
- Ease the distress that children and families can experience when a loved one is living with dementia
- Help to de-stigmatise dementia by educating younger generations about the illness
- Raise vital funds for dementia organisations through sales of the book
If you like the sound of this project, please visit www.allyballybee.org today. Sign up to our newsletter or follow us on social media.
My name is Matthew Adams and I am the project Founder. Working in the charity sector for my entire career has introduced me to some tough subject matter – such as drug use, breast cancer and dementia. Discovering how families comprehend, accept and deal with such complex issues has always interested me. But it wasn’t until I became a father, while working for a dementia charity, that I started to ask myself: how does a young child cope with a loved one’s dementia? How would I go about explaining granny’s dementia to my six year old daughter?
Through my research I discovered some excellent children’s books about dementia but they were always about a little boy or a little girl. I wanted to create a book where my child was the main character.
Over the past 12 months I have been working to take my idea from a dream to a reality (in between full-time employment and fatherhood!). As a digital marketing professional, I have been using my skills to promote the idea and generate interest and support online. The Ally Bally Bee Project now boasts more than 6,000 Twitter followers, a growing social media presence on other platforms too and more than 1,000 web visitors to the website each month.
At present I am working with a talented children’s writer and illustrator to produce the story. Upon completion, I plan to launch a Kickstarter campaign to help raise much needed funds to build the website functionality that will allow users to personalise and order their book online.
Working on such a project, with little time, money or resource, is tough but the positive feedback I’ve received online motivates me to continue.
If you want to get involved or stay up-to-date with the project’s progress, please get in touch via www.allyballybee.org