Sanibel resident releases children’s book on dementia
Earlier this month, Dan Perkins released a children’s book that details the adventures of two girls, Hudson and Charlotte, as they help a young man named James retrieve his grandmother’s memory.
In the end, the two girls find a way to help James preserve memories of his grandmother from the past. In the last section, the book feature 12 activities that families can do together that help them learn about the disease.
“It’s a story book, it’s a mystery, it’s an educational book, it’s entertaining, it’s funny. It has a great many elements and something that should be read by every family member because they need to understand what possibly might be coming or help them deal with what’s already there,” Perkins said. “People ask me if the book has a happy ending or a sad ending, and I think it has a happy ending. What I hope to be able to do with this book is to make people understand that it’s very important to preserve the memory of our past. By doing things that preserve the memory of our parents or grandparents, (it) allows for us to have a family history – it tells us who we are and who we’re likely to be.”
In the book, there is a strong bond between the two girls and their fathers – they are often telling their two daughters how they can help James.
“What’s different about the children’s book is the role of the fathers. There aren’t a lot of children’s books that show relationships between children and their fathers,” he said.
Two weeks ago, Perkins presented the book to a group of fourth graders at an elementary school in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“I was amazed because they were interviewing me about the book,” he said. “I’ll never forget the image of those children in that group of 140 people. I went in with the expectation that at the end of the hour, they were probably going to be an unruly crowd. But they never were – they stayed right there and asked questions. It was obviously something they wanted to learn more about,” Perkins said.
“Why Can’t Grammy Remember Me?” is aimed at children ages 9-12. Perkins said he felt compelled to write the story after realizing that dementia is a growing epidemic.
According to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, 520,000 individuals have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in Florida. The organization estimates that by 2025, 720,000 individuals will be diagnosed.
Perkins dedicated the book to his friend Marvin Merrill, who suffered from dementia.
“He was a great friend and a brilliant person. He virtually lost it all,” he said.
The book is $9 and can be found at Bailey’s General Store, MacIntosh Books and amazon.com.
Perkins is available to speak to groups about his book and dementia. For more information, call 973-687-4826. Ten percent of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Foundation.
“If I can help the anguish and sorrow a lot of children are going through, that’s a big plus for me,” Perkins said.