Pomai has become worried as she sees Papa, her grandfather, become more forgetful. She wants Papa to play with her, but he is losing his memory and is no longer able to make poi with her or take her to the beach. In Pomai and Her Papa: Growing Up with Memory Loss and Holding On to What Matters Most, a short, illustrated storybook, Pomai sets off on her journey to learn how to help Papa and her family. She receives guidance from a teacher, social worker and doctor, who help her understand what is happening to Papa. The story educates young caregivers about dementia, including the most common form, Alzheimer’s disease, and offers age-appropriate ways to help.

“People in Hawai‘i are especially affected by Alzheimer’s disease, in part because of the high rate of multigenerational homes here,” said Professor Colette Browne, one of the book’s co-authors.

“Children are deeply affected by dementia in their families, and yet often they are not viewed as caregivers who need education and support.”

This free booklet includes information on local and national resources where youth and families can seek answers and find support. It was written by Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work researchers at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. It is published and distributed through Hā Kūpuna project, a resource center for Native Hawaiian elders and their families.