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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Power of Baby Love

Sophia "breathes and coos
and has a heartbeat."
A friend whose elderly mom is in a nursing home and isn't doing well mentioned how much she improved when, following the advice of her caregivers, she gave her a baby doll to love. My friend said her mom's attitude went from sad and withdrawn to smiling all the time and happy.

I've noticed that myself at the nursing home I visit. Several of the patients cuddle baby dolls and are always eager to talk about them. I usually stop to admire the babies and ask how they are doing. It never fails to generate smiles and conversation. It's part of my desire to enter into their Alzheimer's world where time is all one -- the past and the present swirling together.

That baby dolls are a comfort to those with Alzheimer's and dementia makes perfect sense to me. When my dad died, my youngest was going on two. I used to sit and rock her and cry. It was a great comfort to have a little one to love. That expression, warm fuzzy, is true. I haven't found a doll that includes a warmer, but perhaps it will happen in the next generation of comfort dolls. Life-like "breathing" babies with heartbeats are already on the market. Why not one who is also warm like a real baby. Better than a hot water bottle!

Women, especially, are made to nurture life and many Alzheimer's patients who have forgotten so much still remember the joy of cuddling and caring for a baby. Those who use doll therapy say that the doll shouldn't be given directly to the patient however:
It is important that a doll not be given directly to the person with Alzheimer’s disease. Rather it should be left somewhere, on a table or sitting in a chair, for example, somewhere that she will easily find it. This way the individual can make the choice to provide care for the doll, not feel that they are being given the responsibility to do so, which could cause anxiety or result in the doll being rejected.

These dolls would also be a wonderful introduction to a family expecting a new baby allowing siblings to get ready to welcome the newcomer. I love the Ashton-Drake Series of baby dolls. What a great gift these would make for grandchildren. They truly are works of art!

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