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Diet & Nutrition

Amazing pictures of grandmother caring for baby doll go viral

When one family gave their dementia suffering grandmother a doll, her response was incredible.

By Danielle Colley
Dementia is a terrible disorder and watching a loved one succumb to the ravages of Alzheimer's and related diseases is heart wrenching.
One family had witnessed the misery of their Grandmother who suffered from dementia for six years.
But when a relative gave her a doll the family were intrigued to see the elderly lady’s demeanour alter. She began caring for the doll. It was something for her to love.
“I don't know why she thought of this but it has changed my grandmother's life for the better,” the lady’s granddaughter said on the Postize Facebook page
“She actually thinks she is babysitting and she cares for the doll like it's a real baby. She sings for him/her (sometimes it's a girl and other times it's a boy :p), she also brings it out to the other people in the home and for most of them it has the same effect. I thought this was kinda cool."
It certainly is cool. It is also a well-researched and proven method of bringing comfort to people suffering Alzheimer’s disease.
Current estimates, according to the World Alzheimer’s Report in 2012, suggest that around 40 million people worldwide live with dementia, with that figure being thought to swell to 115.6 million people globally by 2050.
It is estimated that 60%-90% of people suffering dementia will exhibit some forms of stress.
These forms of stress can manifest as aggression, frustration, fear and anger or other behavioural disorders as it is often confusing for the sufferer.
It is thought that people exhibiting this behaviour have some universal emotional needs that are not being satisfied. These include being needed, feeling useful and valuable, to be able to care for others and to love and loved.
Doll therapy has been used as a non-pharmacological management of patients with dementia for over 20 years.
It is thought that doll therapy gives a person with dementia something to care for and this gives them a sense of purpose. Hugging their doll also gives them security and comfort much like a child and their toy.
Although some families, and care staff, suggest that seeing their family member or patient care so deeply for an inanimate object is disconcerting, and demeaning, most people enjoy watching their diminished loved one have a heartfelt connection and feel comfort from this.
Whilst most research for doll therapy is anecdotal and has not really been quantified by clinicians it is widely supported in the industry.
CEO of Alzheimer's Australia Carol Bennett believes doll therapy can be a good solution rather than pharmacological alternatives.
"Alzheimer’s Australia has seen doll therapy be very beneficial for people living with dementia," Carol says."Together with person-centred care, Alzheimer’s Australia supports all research into innovative therapies which could replace the often unnecessary over-prescription of medications, to help with behavioural symptoms of dementia."
After the pictures of their Grandmother loving her baby doll were posted to Postize's Facebook page, other people flooded in with support for the family and shared their own images of the way their own family members had formed bonds with dolls and taken great comfort from them in the final seasons of their lives.
My mum has had a few dolls that she has worn out by twisting and pulling at the limbs, she has 2 at the moment that she cares for, the careers also say the babies help to calm her down when she gets stressful.
Barbara Lawrence, Facebook
My gran has had her own doll for a few years now. It keeps her busy while she sits in her chair. She also loves a cuddle with her great grandchildren too.
Tracy Middleton, Facebook
My Dad who is 80 with Alzheimer's and Dementia loves his doll.
Jackie Ainsley, Facebook
This is my dear Granny who also had Alzheimer's and cared for her baby doll. Here she is also meeting her great-grandson.
Family was always the most important thing to Granny, who was a warm and caring person, and so caring for a baby was just the thing for her.
Laura Gill, Facebook
Here's my precious Nana and dearest Pop who goes into visit nana and "plays along." Sweet love
Karyn Stephens, Facebook

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