Lydia Burdick’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1998. Lydia visited her mom often; they’d eat together, watch tv, and look at magazines. She wanted to read aloud with her mother, so Lydia looked for appropriate uplifting reading materials. She couldn’t find any, so she decided to write the books she’d hoped to find. She recruited her artist friend Jane Freeman to draw the illustrations.
The idea with Lydia’s Two Lap Book series is to sit with your loved one with the books across both laps. You can read the books straight through or use the text and pictures to spark conversations or sing recommended songs. Currently there are three books in the series; there could be more in the future.
The Sunshine on My Face describes universally appealing experiences: feeling the warmth of the sun on your face, listening to music, watching children play, and going for a ride in the countryside.
Happy New Year to You celebrates each month of the year with familiar images: rain showers in April, weddings in June, school days in September.
Wishing on a Star inspires pleasant feelings about common experiences, both past and present: the smell of coffee in the morning, holding hands, the feeling of a warm breeze.
Two Lap Books are available in English and Japanese. It’s possible that they’ll be published in other languages too in the future.
I asked Lydia how she measures the success of the series. “I measure its success by the endorsements Two-Lap Books has received by professionals in the field, the appreciation I receive when I meet caregivers who have incorporated Two-Lap Books into their visits with loved ones with dementia, and reviews posted on Amazon by caregivers,” she said.
Lydia also suggested that others who want to write for people with dementia should just do it and see what works. Great advice!