Greg Kintzele is close with his grandmother. But she began to change, and eventually couldn’t remember Kintzele.
“I felt kind of hurt,” he says to NPR. “I’ve known her since I was a baby.”
When Kintzele learned about Alzheimer’s disease in school, everything he experience with his grandmother made sense. Kintzele attends Graland Country Day School, a private school in Denver that has developed a multi-subject curriculum for seventh graders on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Kintzele learned about the history of the disease, genetic mutations, changes in the brain and research in science class. He wrote a biography of an elderly person in his life in English class. He built a memory box filled with objects for that person in art.
Part of the curriculum is for students to interact with memory care residents at nearby Sunrise at Cherry Creek. Students visit the assisted living facility to talk to seniors about their past while learning about the disease, patience and complex social skills. Once a month, some of the seniors come to the school to play games.
Kintzele says he’s learned not to get frustrated with her questions and moods and even what to expect as her disease progresses.
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