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What happened to Grandpa by Nandini Nayar 

With old age comes its share of health problems. At times, it can be difficult to explain to children what ails their ageing grandparents. More so, when the grandparent is struck with a condition like dementia. What happened to Grandpa by Nandini Nayar (Puffin books) takes the reader through one such tale where the young child comes to grip with the changing mental faculties of her beloved grandfather. 

What happened to Grandpa by Nandini Nayar

How can one explain the complicated impact of this condition? Is it just enough to say that grandpa is now forgetting what used to be so dear and normal earlier? How can one tell a child why the relationship they had with their grandparents will change in ways they couldn’t have imagined? 

And yet, the love between them always remains. If one kind of memory fails, the child, Neha and her grandfather create different ways of remembering. Neha takes the condition of the grandfather in her stride. Thanks to the masterful language of Nandini Nayar and the beautiful Illustrations by Aditi Anand, the very gradual deterioration of the grandfather who seems to have a diagnosis of dementia, is portrayed in a very humane and poignant way. 

As Neha comes to terms with what happened to him, she also has to face the eventuality of his death. Can she also come to terms with that? The healing power of love and of memories play a very big role in the process of immortalising the precious moments  that children share with their grandparents. 

As a psychologist, I would use this book in therapy if a similar situation presented itself. But aside from its obvious use as a bibliotherapy tool, What happened to Grandpa by Nandini Nayar is a meaningful addition to school and personal libraries to spark conversations around dementia and the nuanced impact it may have on the individual as well as their loved ones. 

Dhanishta Shah

Dhanishta is a Counselling Psychologist and a freelance writer. She is the Founder of Bookedforlife.