and Reborn Dolls By Nicola Baume Co-Author: Fran Smith
Placing a reborn doll in the arms of an Alzheimer's patient can calm
them to the point of being able to communicate and take instruction...
At Ashcroft Care Home based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, UK, they have
reported that reborn doll therapy has cut the number of patients using
psychotropic drugs from 92 per cent at the start of 2008 to 28 percent.
Reborn dolls in particular seem to have the best effect with these
patients, as they are so much more lifelike than traditional dolls. The
dementia area is a large market that is reasonably untapped for reborn
doll artists. In my research I visited a website that showed the most
touching photographs of Alzheimer's patients holding their dolls. They
appeared happy and calm.
Many dementia patients suffer from agitation and distress, doll therapy
can alleviate this. Dementia patients can be withdrawn and communication
between patients and caregivers difficult, reborn dolls have been shown to
vastly help in these areas. The British Psychological Society
Conference presented this research into reborn doll therapy.
Reborn doll therapy seems to work extremely well with female patients as
it takes them back to a time when they were housewives and highly
productive. Due to effects of dementia many of these patients still
believe they are young, so when they adopt a reborn doll, it brings back
happy memories of parenthood. Having a doll can reawaken positive
memories of being useful and needed; being loved and of loving.
Doll Therapy is best introduced in the early to middle stages of
Alzheimer's. In the early stages the patient may know the reborn doll is
not real but will enjoy the pleasures of naming it and constantly
changing it's clothes. Women in the middle stages of the disease are
likely to communicate with the doll; The Alzheimer patient may
communicate with the doll through singing, talking and cuddling. They
start to become extremely attached to their doll and keep it with them
for many hours of the day.
Introducing a doll in the late stages of Alzheimer's is not quite as
effective as in the early stages. Introducing a doll in the early stages
will allow the owner to become used to it and as the disease progresses
the bond is set and the patient will be able to get comfort from the
doll well into the later stages.
Reborn dolls however, are not a cure and the sufferer will not suddenly
transform back to their former self because of a reborn doll but it is
the comfort the patient feels that is the real benefit of reborn doll
"I have worked with people with Alzheimer's disease for 12 years and if
you ever witnessed one of my residents singing, cooing, interacting with
the life-like doll, you would know that it does work. Many of our
ladies were homemakers and their number one priorities were family. It
was a time in their life when they were useful and had a sense of
purpose. A reborn doll can bring a patient back to a time in their life
where they felt secure and in control. We must join them on their
journey, not ours!" (A quote from a discussion forum for Alzheimer's
patients). Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2777224
INTRODUCING A DOLL
EARLY STAGE ALZHEIMERS
Women in the early stages of the disease, who are still more aware of
the world around them, will still find the doll enjoyable. They may
spend time dressing and undressing the doll. They may not talk to it or
sing to it, but they will probably name it and enjoy holding it.
MIDDLE STAGE ALZHEIMERS
Women in the middle stages of the disease are likely to talk and sing to
the doll. They may forget the doll's name and may find it difficult to
dress and undress the doll. They are likely to begin carrying it around
with them and may attempt to feed it. At this stage, they are very
attached to their "baby".
LATE STAGE ALZHEIMERS Recent research shows that even in late stages, patients can be
responsive to a doll. As with all stages, gently introduce the doll and
observe the interaction. Invite them to feel the "baby's" hair or notice
the tiny fingers. If there is no response, try again another time. QUICK TIP
Always use a doll whose eyes are open. Often Alzheimer's/Dementia
patients interpret closed eyed dolls as being "dead" and this can
cause them undue distress and concern
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