A classic demonstration


Registered User
Jan 31, 2004
near London
Yesterday, following the death of a resident at Jan's home, a new resident was moved in. She's a lovely old lady of West Indian extraction. She has gone downhill a lot since I last saw her.

Anyway, she was sitting on a settee, slumped slightly sideways, seemingly oblivious to everything.

One of the care workers brought a life-size baby doll in and held it in front of her.

She immediately sat upright, eyes opened, and took the 'baby' in her hands. She talked to it softly for a few moments, then moved it to nursing position on her shoulder, and rocked back and forth.

She was an entirely changed person, demonstrably more content.

I know it is standard practice, and there have been many residents at the home with dolls, stuffed animals, etc - but I've never seen the immediate result of a person one minute having one demeanour, then changing completely after.


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
How lovely to see Bruce. Amazing the inner workings of the psyche. Maybe, deep down, some things you never forget.

Would have loved to witness that. Thanks


Registered User
Jul 12, 2007
When I was visiting Dad I told him I had to go shopping he stood up and said take my cheque book! Bless him im almost 50 its been years since I needed his cheque book similar thing to your incident.


Registered User
Aug 29, 2006
SW Scotland
There's a lady in John's unit who walks up and down the corridors cuddling a doll, and talking to it all the time. The lady's tiny and bent almost double. But she's perfectly happy. The staff have even put a cradle in her room for the 'baby' to sleep in. So moving.


Registered User
Nov 14, 2006
connie said:
How lovely to see Bruce. Amazing the inner workings of the psyche. Maybe, deep down, some things you never forget.

That is so true. My mum, who we haven't understood for well over a year now, will always, after 'burping' say "pardon me!". Not quite the same I know, but still...


Registered User
Jan 8, 2007
hi just to add i look after my one year old grand daughter on a monday and as i don,t like to miss a day taking mam out from the assesment unit i take her with me while i pick mam up and the response from the patients is wonderful to see,


Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
leigh lancashire
Dear Bruce.I saw this stimulation a few months ago when a residents great granchild vsited.The resident treated the doll like a child.No harm in that.If the sufferer percieves that they are caring for a doll, a person or whatever?Can we take that away from them?would we want to take the love they want to give away from them?I know it's hard to sit back and watch what we really don't want to see,but what harm is done?Us seeing the true state of the disease is surely a sign of the times for us to move on and appreciate what we have.This may be a sore point for some families and my apologies are given.love elaine

Margaret W

Registered User
Apr 28, 2007
North Derbyshire
Now you are taking me back to my childhood, cos at the end of the road was a "mental hospital", quite unusual for a small town such as New Mills in Derbyshire. By the side of it was a dirt track, used by us kids to get from our road to the council estate (where there was a playground). I would be aged 6 or 7 then. At the back of the hospital was a yard, a bit like a school playground. And the inmates as they were then described, were allowed into the yard. Some of us kids used to talk to them through the fencing (wire netting), me included, and I got a bit chatty with Carrie, cos she was always there. No idea how old she was, hey, I was 6, every adult was old to me.

Carrie always had a doll in her arms. Always. The doll was called Annie. I now realise it was her daughter to her mind. Perhaps a deceased daughter, or a daughter who didn't visit any more. I don't know. I just remember some lads laughing at her for carrying a doll around, and plotting one day to get it off her. I confronted them, little me, aged 6, a skinny wimp, and 4 boys aged 10 or 11, and saying "don't you dare take that doll off her, it is important to her, it will ruin her life if you take it away", and they didn't do it. I say a got a bit chatty with Carrie, it was me who did the chatting, cos she never ever answered me, just smiled at me. I just accepted it, didn't wonder why, just accepted that she was Carrie. I don't even know who told me she was called Carrie, maybe I have made it up.

I remember one Christmas, though, I was about 11, there was a church youthclub nearby, and I was allowed to join it, and we went to the hospital to sing Christmas Carols, and Carrie was there with her doll, singing to the doll. I can picture her in the chair, rocking the baby and singing to it. 44 years ago. Well I did my bit!

Crikey, we didn't know anything about AD back then (1960 max), I feel honoured to have given that lady a little bit of pleasure, if I did. We called the place "the looney bin" and laughed about it. Kids can be cruel.



Kate P

Registered User
Jul 6, 2007
How lovely. No matter how deteriorated the brain and original personality the need to give love is still there.

Had a moment with mum at the weekend - she was so distressed and angry and we just couldn't get through to her.

In the end I held her face to force her to look and me and asked her "don't you know your cuckoo child?" She started to cry and let me hug her and it did stop the anger for a while.

She always called me her cuckoo child because she is so tiny (5 foot 2) and a small frame and I am 5 foot 9 with a giant frame and we used to laugh about how she couldn't possibly be my mum!

It was nice to know she still had some memory of that.

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
There is a lady shops in my local supermarket (with her carer) who is never without her 'doll' in the baby seat of a trolley ... only young(ish) - clearly some 'mental health problem' (is that the PC term?) ....

People stop and ask how the baby is and she beams ...... she talks constantly to it ..... people move away only to let her talk to her 'baby' and help her to choose what to pick off the shelf ...... the local children know her and smile ...... there is no prejudice (No 'Loony bin' mentality - I agree Deborah - I am ashamed to be part of that generation of thinking) - in fact - her tenderness brings the smiles - and puts some perspective back for the likes of me - rushing round the aisles like a demon trying to 'accomplish' the shopping ......

How wonderful, when someone has lost their cognitive functioning, their memory, any intellectual skills, a human still has the instinct to love and nurture ......

All that matters at the end of the day, isn't it?

K, x