Dementia Explained 180Dementia has an impact on children, according to 29% of parents in a new poll. In response, Alzheimer’s Research UK has created a new website called ‘Dementia Explained’ to help young people better understand the condition.

The website provides child-friendly dementia information focusing on the ways people with dementia can change and the effect this can have on families through a range of resources, including stories narrated by broadcaster Edith Bowman.

"I think this is a brilliant project,” said Bowman. “As a parent of young children, it is great to see such a fantastic array of age-appropriate dementia resources all in one place. Dementia affects so many families that it’s high time there was a site like this dedicated to children and teens.

"I can also see this site being a real help for parents who would like to talk through the condition with their children and explain why a family member might be behaving in an unusual way. Dementia isn’t like a lot of other illnesses and children can have so many questions that aren’t always easy to answer. The stories, information and activities on Dementia Explained will really help with this.”

More than 10% of parents in the YouGov survey said their children currently have a family member living with the condition and while there are a number of sources of dementia information for adults, the charity felt these statistics highlight the need for information aimed at younger people.

The website, developed with input from children and families that have experience of dementia, is divided into three sections with content and design tailored for younger children, older children, and teenagers. The sections include illustrated online books and games, information about dementia research and scientific careers for teenagers and an interactive virtual tour of the brain for each age group as well as a retro arcade-style game called ‘Amyloids’.

Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, added: “There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and, as large as this number is, it is far from the complete picture. Dementia doesn’t just affect individuals; it impacts whole families and communities. Despite how common it is, there are still a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding dementia. For children, especially those with a close relative like a grandparent or parent with the condition, it can be a particularly difficult experience.

“Dementia Explained uses engaging content that will appeal to children of different ages to demystify dementia and explain why and how the condition can affect someone. It’s important for young people to appreciate that changes in the way that a family member may be behaving are nobody’s fault, least of all theirs, but the result of changes affecting how the brain works. Educating the next generation about dementia is critical if we are to overcome the stigma that still surrounds the condition today.”

The website includes quotes and experiences provided by young people who have a family member with dementia. Visitors are able to submit their own experiences of dementia and post pictures, videos and pieces of writing they want to share with other young people.

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