It’s hard to experience seeing a beloved parent go through the effects of dementia losing all their abilities and capabilities to function as they did a few years before. Realisation that this disease had taken hold of my mother, we as a family were fortunate that she was already living in a retirement village and with the fantastic support of the nursing staff, a place was found for her in one of the onsite high-care nursing units. At first, she didn’t take to this restricted environment, but something has come into her life that seems to have lessened her stress and agitation …. A baby doll. There seems to be a little of bit of controversy over the use of dolls for ‘therapy’ but numerous studies have shown that introducing a teddy or a doll can be a very effective way for someone with Alzheimer’s or any kind of dementia be calmed and less agitated. It encourages them to possibly start to verbalise when they have been battling to communicate by humming or singing a lullaby.
At one nursing home, volunteers handed out baby dolls and toy puppies to the residents. The women cradled the dolls whilst the men were seen to gently stroke the toy puppies. Knowing how stressed and depressed my mom has been these past few month, we, as a family, are delighted that she happy to focus on her new ‘baby’.