Dolls

daughter

Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
824
I went to visit my Dad yesterday - it was a good visit. Mum, Dad, my son and I played ball in the garden. Dad is still the best at trying to catch us out by pretending to throw to someone and then throwing to someone else instead!

I also found out that the Home has purchased some life-like dolls for the residents. The Alzheimer's Society recommended the dolls (although I'm unable to find any details about this on the web site). They don't cry but they sound as if they are breathing softly and they can giggle. I was a bit sceptical at first because Dad was always great with babies, children and animals but dollies weren't his scene! The doll was given to him to hold and he was talking to it just as if it were a real baby. It was very touching to watch and yet I was still a little uncomfortable about this. Searching the Internet I found this helpful article on the Alzheimer's Disease International web site:

http://www.alz.co.uk/adi/pdf/hcayton_childhood.pdf (PDF version)

http://64.233.183.104/search?q=cach...hood.pdf++alzheimer's++dolls++realistic&hl=en (HTML version)

I do agree that "Acknowledging the childlike in someone’s behaviour does not require us to infantilise the whole person". Does anyone else have experience of this?
 

Sandy

Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
6,847
Hi Hazel,

Glad you had an enjoyable visit with your dad - loved the bit about his catching people out with his throwing strategy.

I have to admit that the doll therapy idea was new to me. When we were investigating potential care homes for my father-in-law, we must have visited at least 8 different homes and I never encountered it.

Trying to found out a bit more, I stumbled across this really well-balanced article about the actual use of this therapy in a UK care home. You can read it here:

http://www.demmatt.demon.co.uk/dolltherapy_print.htm

I totally agree with the concept of acknowledging a person's abilities without infantilsing them. I also think that many of the statements about older people - such as "respecting individuality" and "treating with dignity" and "appropriate choices" - apply equally to humans of all ages. The validity of a person-centred approach (re-inforcing a sense of self-worth) applies equally across the ages.

Take care,

Sandy
 

daughter

Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
824
A brilliant article, thanks Sandy. I have printed it off and will show it to my Mum tomorrow. It all made complete sense and I feel a whole lot happier now!

"Such interactions have led us to the conclusion that these individuals do not find dolls childish, so why should we?"

I have always been a believer in the benefits of playing all kinds of games with Dad but this was something else. Seeing him appearing to believe it was a real baby was quite bizarre but after reading the article I can't wait to have a hold of the doll myself!

Thanks again,
 

TED

Registered User
Sep 14, 2004
154
51
Middlesex
I'm glad to read you had a nice time with your Dad
Hope this means you will have a good weekend and week ahead.

My mum has noticably (to me anyway) begun to get worse, now talking to people who arent there and taking conversations onto very interesting tangents indeed.

oh well
tomorrow another day, but I am really glad for you and your family.

be good
TED
 

daughter

Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
824
Hi TED,

I'm sorry to hear about your Mum. I know I was very down about Dad last week when he wouldn't eat and I couldn't really concentrate on much else. I hope you have a good weekend too. Big hugs coming your way. :)
 

TED

Registered User
Sep 14, 2004
154
51
Middlesex
Thanks friend, and for the hugs, always welcome.
I am sure when I go and see Mum on Monday all will be well
do not know how Dad manages daily, deserves a medal in my book

painting tomorrow dunno how I got roped into that
you keep well and out of mischief (hee hee)

laugh - and the world laughs with you
scream and shout in Tescos - and everyone just stares?

TED X
 

Sheila

Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
2,259
West Sussex
Hey, time for a big group hug I think, all together now, HHHHHUUUUUGGGGG......., mmm thats better, hope everyone has a better day tomorrow and that next week is a good 'un, lotsaluv, She. XX
 

KarenC

Registered User
Jun 2, 2005
122
Los Angeles, USA
At age 49 I have not found myself too old to play with stuffed animals :) so why shouldn't old folks? I've seen old ladies in nursing homes holding a toy dog or cat; my mom acquired a toy gorilla several months ago that she talked to and played with at least for a while.

Karen
 

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
790
Buckinghamshire
Seems like we are all in very good company indeed: my husband chats daily to the photographs of the grandchildren, every so kindly and gently, and he has long 'conversations' with their dolls and with one big, cuddly, 'smiley' (soft toy) Chimp which all the children have loved and dragged around for over 20 years. To him, they must all appear 'real', so much so that he has occasionally said things like "hasn't 'he' eaten anything yet?"
He is always happy/contented when he has these chats, never tells them off, he is more likely to whisper to them as though there were sharing a great big secret - it does appear odd, but as long as he is happy, who cares .....
 

carol

Registered User
Jun 24, 2004
196
Surrey/Hampshire
My mother in law has a doll, sometimes she treats it like a baby, other times it is just disguarded on the side.

Nutty Nan, how did your daughters wedding go? I hope you had a lovely day.

Carol
 

Nutty Nan

Registered User
Nov 2, 2003
790
Buckinghamshire
Dear Carol,
How kind of you to ask: we all had a wonderful day. Unforgettable [isn't that a strange word to use on TP???], very romantic, and full of so much happiness and kindness that it really warms your heart. A very proud Grandad gave his beautiful granddaughter away in church, and a very smart looking Father of the Bride managed to share the whole event, with lots of support from the whole family, including all the 'new' relatives, who couldn't have been kinder and more accepting. We had tricky moments, and he didn't really grasp the meaning of the occasion, but he was there, and for much of the time he looked happy and seemed to sense the happiness and goodwill around him, which was very, very important to us all! - We couldn't have wished for more, and we are truly grateful.
 

Sheila

Registered User
Oct 23, 2003
2,259
West Sussex
Nan, so glad everything went so well. Happy memories for all and lots of photos too to help. If you can, please post some for us to see here on TP. Love She. XX :)
 

daughter

Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
824
Thank you for all your thoughts about the dolls. I tried to work out why I'd felt uneasy with this in the first place. I think that the answer is that it was another of those moments of realisation about my Dad's fraility as a human being.

My Dad has always supported me, from walking 7 miles holding the saddle of my first 2-wheeler bike until I could ride it by myself, to gardening and doing DIY for me, collecting my children from school - the list is endless. Now I support him.

In the past I'd seen him play all sorts of pretend games with my children but that's the point - then it was just pretend. Now, it appears real to him.

If my Dad had died several years ago, I would probably never have had to re-evaluate how I see him but this disease has forced me to look at him in so many different guises. I don't know if that's good or bad. It's certainly enlightning!

Glad you had a wonderful day, Nan. "including all the 'new' relatives, who couldn't have been kinder and more accepting." That's great.
 

noodle31

Registered User
May 1, 2005
81
kent
Hi

i find this doll idea fasinating mainly because my dad when he was well refused totally to hold any babies, from us as babies to his grandchildren etc

BUT i regularly take my now 5 month daughter to the hospital and he eagerly awaits cuddles from her, so different to when he was well

he always asks for cuddles, i find i sit and hold his had or cuddle him, whether he knows i am there or not

love Jane x
 

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