For some time now I had been hearing about the benefits of reborn dolls for Alzheimer's and Dementia patients. It seems that holding a reborn doll can calm them to the point of being able to communicate and take instruction. There are many great articles on the internet that give information about this. Here is a link to one: http://ezinearticles.com/?Alzheimer-Patients-and-Reborn-Dolls&id=2777224
In 2011 I had the great privilege of donating a reborn baby to our new St. Mary's Center for Alzheimer's and Dementia Care. It is a beautiful facility and you can see more about it here: http://www.stmarysathens.com/services/alzheimers_dementia_care.html
This article was published in 2011 on the St. Mary's Foundation Annual Newsletter. (Here is a link to the Foundation web page. I was so proud to see them make mention of the doll therapy! http://stmarysathens.org/about/foundation.html Click on the tab Annual Publication to read their current great articles)
Since the newsletter changes annually I have copied and pasted the article below to save for future reference.
Doll Therapy:A Special Kind of Caring“St. Mary’s Center for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care is implementing a special kind of therapy using handmade newborn baby dolls to stimulate and connect with residents battling Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. St. Mary’s Center for
I have learned through experimentation that the best dolls for comfort therapy for the aging are either 18-20" length 1/4 limbed babies or smaller sized 3/4 limbed babies. The best weight would be between 3-4 lbs. This is because dead weight feels heavier and older people have a harder time holding a heavy baby for a long enough period of time to enjoy their cuddle factor. If making a comfort therapy doll for someone who is not aging then the weight could be a more realistic 5 lbs or so.
Comfort therapy dolls are usually made according to my Simply Baby line which is a less expensive doll that does not hair rooted hair to worry about mussing up. It is also best to use open eyed sculpts for comfort therapy dolls. I was told by the professionals that sometimes the elderly will get upset if their baby does not wake up so sleeping babies are better avoided. I also observed first hand that they often really enjoy looking into the eyes of the baby and talking to them.
To read more about the Simply Baby Line go toSimply Baby™ Reborns
I can not tell you how rewarding it is to see the faces light up as the baby is held. It really does seem to bring comfort to patients. I strongly encourage those who have family members with Alzheimer's or Dementia to consider getting a reborn doll for them.
Here are some photographs of the residents at St. Mary's Center enjoying new baby Parker.