Efforts to Raise Awareness for Dementia in United Kingdom

January, 2018

Having had experiences with grandchildren of cancer patients asking about cancer, convalescence, and other issues, employees of Eisai UK realized the need for easy-to-understand explanatory materials for children regarding numerous illnesses. Eisai UK proposed this idea to some related organizations, and after receiving significant feedback from Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK), the UK’s leading dementia research charity, Eisai UK initiated a project to publish a picture book for children to help better understand Alzheimer’s diseases. At the start of the project, patients with dementia and children were invited to Eisai UK for seminars on dementia and provided with opportunities for grasping an understanding of the disease, including gauging the level of knowledge. These activities were dubbed Project Hummingbird due to the hummingbird’s enlarged hippocampus, which is involved in memory functions. Together with ARUK, the idea of creating a picture book was refined through the Hummingbird Tea Party and “Build a brain” workshop, and two picture books, “Grandad’s Hat” and “When Grandma came to stay” were created for young kids and juniors respectively as easy-to-understand explanatory materials for children.

The author of the two books is Mr. Matt Elliott, a best-selling and award-winning author of books for adults and children. “Grandad’s Hat” was illustrated by an Eisai UK employee, and “When Grandma came to stay” was illustrated by Mr. David William Nunn. The project was initiated in 2012, and the two books have been distributed to about 13,300 people at schools, libraries, memory clinics, general practitioners’ clinics, dementia centers, nursery homes, hospitals, pharmacists, as well as to local councils, charities and individuals etc., and the books will continue to be distributed over time. In addition to the books for young kids and juniors, a book for teenagers will be developed in the future.

The two stories have been launched as part of a new ARUK website. The books can be read via the following links, and narration by a radio/TV presenter is available as well.