Stuffed animals!


Registered User
May 20, 2006
North East
At a recent meeting with the home and CPN, it has been suggested that Mum might benefit from a doll or a teddy.

The home have said that she seems to like looking after people - her one good friend that she had in the home sadly died a few months ago, and Mum apparently looked after her a bit, combing her hair etc. This friend used to have a teddy that she always carried with her and she talked to it as if was her baby.

She's now got friendly with a 'new boyfriend' :eek: and she's always stroking his arm, but sadly, he's in and out of hospital which has been quite unsettling for her.

When the CPN mentioned this I did have reservations as Mum used to make faces when her friend used to talk to her teddy!

But, I put them to one side and bought her a very soft and cuddly stuffed dog and took it in to her at the weekend. I told her it was a present from the boys in the hope that she might accept it a bit better. She was absolutley over the moon about it and kept stroking it and saying how soft it was.

I'm hoping that this might settle her a bit, but then again, she might have totally forgotten all about it the next morning - I'll find out tomorrow.

Does anyone have any experience of this at all?



Registered User
Oct 15, 2005
Hi Libs
My Mum has a dementia support worker come sit with her one afternoon a week as respite for Dad. This has only just started and on the second visit she brought a 'special' doll with her. it seemed to be accepted and she brought it again this week. The worker told my Dad that it is a therapy they are using as it does seem helpful in some cases. If anyone out there knows more about this I would appreciate your input. In my own mind if it helps (or indeed any cuddly toys) then that's great.


Registered User
May 14, 2006
Stuffed animals

Dear Libby,
When my Mum's 17year old dog died four and a half years ago, I bought her a small, black soft toy dog and she called him Blackie. He just sat on the windowsill or on a spare chair. When Mum had to move from a care home to the Nursing Home she was really unhappy and the toy dog seemed to comfort her. She remembers that I gave her the dog when her pet died and she knows that it is just a toy,but she talks to him and talks about him and he seems to be a focus of interest for her.
My Dad died six years ago, but Mum seems to have forgotten this and asks when he is coming to see her. She also thinks that he shares her room and hides under the bed when the nurses come in. She has hallucinations.
Mum has two teddy bears which were presents before she became ill and she spends quite a lot of time looking at them and talking about them. I think soft toys and dolls are a good idea for dementia patients, but they might not appeal to everybody. It's always worth a try as it might help them in some way.


Registered User
Mar 13, 2006
hi all :)

yesterday after i had posted my thread, i visited my mum in hospital to find she has a cuddly toy as well, perhaps everyone has read the article :)


Registered User
May 20, 2006
North East
Well I went in to see mum today and her lovely fulffy dog was - you guessed it- in her drawer - I'm just surprised it wasn't stuffed in her handbag!

But, I'll persevere with it and keep taking it out - and she does say that it's lovely, but I know by now that it's back in the drawer.

That link was interesting Donna - maybe I should of got her a doll - it's just something inside me still thinks that it's just not right for my mum to have a doll. I feel a bit shallow for thinking that - after all she's not the same person who brought me up ,she's still my mum, but just a different one and maybe a doll would be good for her.

It's very difficult knowing what to do for the best - I'll have to sleep on it - and if she's going to persist in putting the dog in the drawer, I'm bringing him home and he can sleep with me:D

Thanks for all your experiences/thoughts



Registered User
Mar 13, 2006
hi libby
dont feel shallow
i know what you mean about your mum, my mum isnt the cuddly toy/doll type either, but then again she isnt the velcro slippers, wheelchair, stairlift, commode type either, why does this flamin disease have to change them beyond all recognition:confused:
i thought about getting mum a toy when i read the thread i posted but she was having hallucinations about babies and animals a few weeks back so i thought it might scare her, i'll let you know how she gets on with her "pet"
it would be interesting to know if anybody has had any results with toys?
take care x


Registered User
Jun 24, 2004

Just thought I would tell you about my m in law, shes 83 had alzheimers for 8 years and has a doll and a large cuddly rabbbit, I looked after her the other day for a couple of hours and she spent the whole time with the rabbit on her knee talking to it, I desperately tried to try and strike up a conversation with her ( although her conversation skills have gone, I do the topic and she says yes, no etc.) but all she was interested in was the rabbit, but at least it keeps her talking, sometimes it freaks me out. but the doll and the rabbit are not always constant companions, sometimes they are just left on the side. If she gets some sort of comfort, or calms her down, or makes her feel good - then I'm all for it - despite the fact that I don't really feel comfortable with it.

My father in law is 86 and is her main carer, they have carers coming in 3 times a day for bathing, pad changing and dressing and undressing, he says that she knows that the doll and rabbit are not real, but the way she talks to them sometimes I believe she thinks they are real.

In the 8 years since diagnosis, it is only this year that f in law has accepted some respite care.

Best wishes.



Registered User
Jul 15, 2005
You can't look at it as an adult playing with a toy. They can relate to the toy on a level we can't see. It could become the child they used to take care of, the pet they used to have or some other connection that only they know. Putting it in a drawer could be their way of taking care of it. Perhaps she thinks that is it's bed? We all need to feel needed and like there is something to take care of. If they can use an inanimate object to feel that, it is a good thing. If is terrifies them, then that is a different matter of course. My Mom has been talking to inanimate objects for awhile now. You know, they don't look at her with that look that says, " I don't understand you" or " yikes, that doesn make sense" or any other way that we do even when we are trying not to ( body language )
Sometimes it is good just to have something to cuddle with and that gives comfort. I read about one AD lady that had a baby doll she loved. The daughter took it away thinking it was wrong for her Mom to play with a doll. This distressed the poor woman so much, "I lost my baby " she would say. Come to find out, she had lost an infant at birth before she had her other children and was identifying with the doll as that infant. What goes on in the AD mind is a mystery isn't it!
Good luck with and let us know how it goes.


Registered User
Mar 16, 2005
Hi Libby and all,

When I heard about dolls being introduced at my Dad's home last year, I also felt rather uncomfortable, thinking about my Dad being given a doll. :eek: :eek:

Then I learned the very things that Debbie has explained so well - that dolls are not necessarily just dolls to play with, they can be a big comfort to the person with AD in many ways.

Did you see the thread where it was discussed recently?


Registered User
Sep 26, 2005
east sussex

My husband has recently been given by our daughter a swing ball game for his birthday and he plays with it on his own for a short time. He also has a childs colouring book and i suggest he colours at the desk beside me while i am on the computer. It seems to work most times.This way he can be near me as he likes to be close.:D

Cynron x x


Registered User
Mar 15, 2006
Morecambe, UK
We have just been to see Jean and we took her a toy dalmation dog. Is quite a big one and is lovely and soft and cuddly. Gav needed a little convincing but we did it anyway. I was a little apprehensive but she loved it!!!!! She called it spots and couldn't stop stroking it :)

I hope he gives her some company while we can't be with her. Only time will tell I guess.


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