Alex Winstanley Creates Children’s Book, My Grandma Has Dementia, From Personal Experience

About Alex Winstanley

My-Grandma-Has-Dementia-Alex-WinstanleyBy Alex Winstanley

Everyone has that family member they seem to share a particularly special bond with – mine was always my Grandma.

When she was diagnosed with Mixed Dementia over ten years ago, our family wasn’t sure what life would look like for her. It was a journey of ups and downs for our family ever since, and we learnt a lot along the way!

So, I wanted to share my grandma’s story, to educate children and young people about the impact that dementia can have on an individual and their family. I had always wanted to write something to help children understand dementia and last year gave me the ideal time to start it.

My grandma unfortunately passed just before Christmas in 2020 but I feel extremely proud that her legacy lives on through the book. I’ve had pictures and feedback from families and professionals as far as Australia and across the USA and it makes my day when people get in touch to tell me how the book has helped their family. The book even won a national Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Hero Award 2021!

I believe that education for children and young people around dementia is key, due to the various changes that people can go through. It is so important that we relieve anxieties and fears as much as possible, by ensuring that they are well informed about long-term health conditions such as dementia, in a positive and supportive way. I always worried about my mum being a sole carer for my grandma, almost 24/7, throughout her life. That is exactly why this book and the book series exists – to start the conversation for children and young people about health conditions that are often treated as a taboo subject. As a former teacher, I think it is imperative that children and young people start these conversations from as young an age as possible. So many people have commented that they wish the book was around when they had to explain dementia to their children, which always gives me a sense of pride and satisfaction.

Since the release of My Grandma Had Dementia, my  non-profit organisation, Happy Smiles Training CIC, has used the book for an intergenerational reading project between local schools and care homes. The aim is to support the reading and interpersonal skills of children and young people, whilst addressing the social isolation for older people, particularly caused by the impact of COVID-19. We have had extremely positive feedback from schools and care homes, with all organisations involved going on to purchase copies of the book for their beneficiaries. All profits from book sales support the awareness-raising work we do at Happy Smiles, led by our team of disabled young adults.

I have released a second book, My Uncle Has Depression, inspired by lived experience of someone in my life who lives with Bipolar. This was even featured on ITV News! The book was also informed by many former sportspeople who have experienced depression, with the aim of encouraging children and young people to talk about mental health. The most recent release was ‘My Brother Has Cancer’, inspired by my brother and a friend. The next book to be released is ‘My Cousin Has Cancer’, which will be available on Amazon worldwide from June 2021!


Alex-Winstanley-My-Grandma-Has-DementiaAlex Winstanley is a best-selling author and award-winning social entrepreneur from Wigan, England. Through his books, he raises awareness of a range of long-term health conditions, in a positive and supportive way, for children and young people. He is extremely passionate about promoting a diverse and inclusive society, where every person is valued and celebrated. Each of his books are inspired by real people, as Alex believes nothing is more important than giving a voice to those with lived experience. His first book, inspired by his grandma, won a Dementia Hero Award 2021! See Alex talking about his second book, ‘My Uncle Has Depression’, on ITV News here. See more on Alex’s FacebookInstagramTwitter & website.

All book sales directly support the work of Alex’s not-for-profit training organisation, Happy Smiles Training CIC, which is led by disabled young adults. See more about their nationally recognised work on their website or on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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