Mackenzie Meets Alzheimer’s Program offers resources for children

Mackenzie Meets Alzheimer's Disease

Mackenzie Meets Alzheimers Book CoverAlder Allensworth, Florida, USA

I cared for my mother who had Alzheimer’s disease. My niece Olivia (age 7) and nephew James (age 5) only saw their Gran on holidays from school. On one particular visit in 2008, the changes they observed were significant and they realized something strange was going on with their Gran.

Everything came to a head one day when their Gran, who was sundowning, wandered upstairs with Olivia’s special box of monster drawings. Olivia accused her Gran of stealing the monsters. Running interference between Olivia and Gran added extra stress to the family relationships. It was important to me to repair the granddaughter/Gran relationship the two had always enJOYed. The monsters were eventually found in Gran’s dirty clothes basket.

As the responsible adult in that situation, I was able to calm Olivia down. However, I needed some tools to help me explain Alzheimer’s to my young niece. I searched for resources to explain Alzheimer’s to the grandchildren. At the time, I found resources were very limited and only focused on memory loss. Alzheimer’s is much more than just memory loss.

This lack of resources triggered a sequence of events. I was a licensed counselor for hospice and worked professionally with many families coping with Alzheimer’s. I took my years of personal and professional experience and started writing a book for children to understand Alzheimer’s. 

I enlisted the assistance of my friend, Brenda Freed. Brenda and I had done our Music Therapy internships together in 1980 and remained friends since that time. I knew Brenda’s music therapy, songwriting and publishing experience and skills. Together, we wrote the text for a picture book for young children explaining Alzheimer’s disease in verse. Brenda put the text to music and produced a recording of the Mackenzie Meets Alzheimer’s Disease Story Song

One of Brenda’s friends heard the song and suggested we get it animated, so the animated Mackenzie Meets Alzheimer’s Disease Story Song Video was born. View the video by clicking this link: Watch Video on

We knew more education was needed so we created the Mackenzie Meets Alzheimer’s Awareness Program (MMAAP) to equip the next generation with information, tips and activities to de-stigmatize Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. The MMAAP is a digital, downloadable, multicultural, multimedia, comprehensive yet concise, affordable and accessible video-based Program. It includes the following five Alzheimer’s awareness videos: 

  1. What is Alzheimer’s Disease
  2. Mild Stage Alzheimer’s Disease
  3. Moderate Stage Alzheimer’s Disease
  4. Severe Stage Alzheimer’s Disease, and 
  5. Coping with Alzheimer’s Disease for the Responsible Adult with Children

The videos are unique because they are intended to be appealing and understandable by young children, yet informative for adults. Children and their families learn about Alzheimer’s and how to interact with a person who has the disease. EnJOYable activities are provided to create positive memories with their loved one, from diagnosis through the severe stage.

A downloadable Quick Reference Guide is provided so viewers have an outline of the information presented in the videos at their fingertips. The song recording, song lyrics, animated video and a lyric version of the animated video are also downloadable with the MMAAP. The MMAAP serves the entire family, from toddlers on up. 

For a list of MMAA Program components, testimonials, reviews and a sample video from the What is Alzheimer’s Disease? video, visit: where the Mackenzie Meets Alzheimer’s Awareness Program is currently available for $47.00.

Other unique features of the MMAAP are that the components serve people who have visual impairments and those who have hearing impairments. Because the MMAAP is auditory-based, people who have visual impairments are served. A lyric rendition of the Story Song video is offered for early readers, but also for people who have hearing impairments. The MMAAP option for people with hearing impairments provides transcripts of all the videos.   

So that children and their families have a tangible resource to accompany the digital MMAAP, the story song was turned into the Mackenzie Meets Alzheimer’s Disease Picture Book. The lyrics for the song are the text for the book. A download link for the Mackenzie Meets Alzheimer’s Disease Story Song comes with the book. The animated Mackenzie Meets Alzheimer’s Disease Story Song Video along with the Picture Book are great introductions to Alzheimer’s disease for young children. 

The Mackenzie Meets Alzheimer’s Disease Picture Book is available on Amazon. Along with the download link for the story song, a 50% discount code off the retail price of the MMAAP is also provided in the book.

About the Authors

Alder AllensworhAlder Allensworth

Alder Allensworth, MM, RN, CIHC has a Master’s degree in Music Therapy and is a Registered Nurse and Certified International Health Coach. The inspiration for this project came from Alder’s personal experience watching her mother who had Alzheimer’s disease interact with her grandchildren (Alder’s nieces and nephews). Professionally, she worked with children and geriatrics, including those with Alzheimer’s disease. Allensworth has also published several articles in professional journals. She won a Richter Publishing book contract in 2017. Her book, Prevail: Celebrate the Journey, is available on Amazon and has a five star review rating. She is a speaker and presenter in the field of disabilities on local, national, and international stages. Allensworth has been featured on CNN, local and international television, and newspapers for her life’s work of promoting quality of life for all people with disabilities.

Brenda Freer

Brenda Freer

Brenda Freed, MA, has a Master’s degree in Music Education/Music Therapy, with an emphasis in counseling. Freed pioneered the Music Therapy Program at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics where she worked with patients of all ages and diagnoses, including Alzheimer’s disease. She has published music therapy articles, a poetry magazine and an arts and entertainment magazine. Freed teaches voice, piano and guitar online to all ages, voice and harmony workshops at festivals and conferences, and has produced a line of Effortless Music Instruction Products. She created the Young Artist Performance Incubator (YAPI) program at the renowned Kerrville Folk Festival. Freed is also a performing singer songwriter with several published albums of original material. She and her husband perform as Him & Her TX.

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