Gifts for the Aging: A Life-size Baby
Sound strange? If you walk into a memory care facility, you will soon see that it is not. Yesterday while visiting my mother, one of the other women living there became anxious and very agitated. It’s hard to tell why it happens or if there is something particular that upsets them. Many are calmed with re-direction or a little attention.
For this sweet lady, one of the caregivers handed her a baby doll, much like this one. She instantly put her arm around it, holding it like she would a real baby, and quietly started talking to it. I’d seen it happen before, so much so that one woman wouldn’t eat her dinner until someone held her baby for her. Another would bounce one on her knee, smiling at it.
It wasn’t sad. It was one of the sweetest things to see. Yes, I wonder if they think it is real or if they know it is a doll. I don’t know the answer to that either, but think perhaps it is a little of both. But the comfort it brings is tangible, and that is what it’s all about.
I think the key is to get one as life-like and life-sized as possible. Hair probably isn’t necessary since it will likely get mussed, but a cap on its head works well. The ones featured here are just right. Twenty inches is the size of many newborns. They are soft bodied. The paradise galleries doll is even weighted realistically.
If you have a mom, or family member who gets anxious or edgy, give one of these a try. There is something about a baby that stays with Alzheimer’s patients throughout their journey. They all still love babies.