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Translating Research Findings Into a Hmong American Children’s Book to Promote Understanding of Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease

Author(s): Linda A. Gerdner

Journal: Hmong Studies Journal
ISSN 1091-1774

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Hmong Americans | Hmong Studies | Asian Americans | Dementia | Elders

Findings from an ethnographic study identified dementia (i.e., Alzheimer’s disease) as an important but often overlooked issue within the Hmong American community. Elders with dementia often lived in the home of a married son who had children of his own. Children were reported to have difficulty understanding the memory and behavioral changes associated with the progressive disease. This lack of understanding adversely affected the relationship between the child and elder. A bilingual illustrated children’s book entitled Grandfather’s Story Cloth has been developed to address this issue. General themes from the life experiences of family caregivers were used to provide a culturally meaningful storyline. The book introduces the idea of using a story cloth to stimulate Grandfather’s remote memory thereby enhancing communication and understanding between Grandson and Grandfather. The educational value of the book is augmented with discussion questions and answers that support a family based approach to learning. To promote access, the Extendicare Foundation provided funds for the purchase and distribution of 1000 copies of this book to select organizations that serve the Hmong-American community. Initial feedback regarding the educational value and cultural appropriateness of Grandfather’s Story Cloth by members of the Hmong American community, educators, elementary students, librarians, and health care professionals is presented.

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