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Grandson Finds a Way to Help Grandma Continue Favorite Pastime

November 13, 2017 | Mysti Jordan

Heard On-Air

Mary Frates is 86 years old, and she suffers from Alzheimer’s. Before she got sick, though, doing word searches was one of her favorite pastimes. Once the dementia set in, she couldn’t do them anymore, and it broke her 17-year-old grandson’s heart to see his grandma have to stop something she’d enjoyed so much.

That’s when John came up with an idea: he created a set of word puzzles for her. He made them in a larger font that would be easier for Mary to read, he simplified the words, and he made sure that all of the answers were straightforward and horizontal, rather than going in all different directions. Then, he sat down to work them with her. John said every time he came over with a new puzzle for her, her eyes would light up and she’d immediately sit down to go to work.

Since it went over so well with Mary, John took his idea to other seniors at the nursing home where she lives. It was so successful there that he ended up turning it into a published word puzzle book called “Grandma and Grandpa’s Word Searches.” All of the proceeds from it are donated to Alzheimer’s research.

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