So, I was struggling a bit for Christmas presents this last Christmas and looked around for gift ideas for people living in later stage dementia. Among the various ideas, I saw mention of giving people dolls. Several people explained that it made the person with dementia happy to have a baby doll to care for. I decided to try it.
With a bit of searching on Amazon, I found a little toddler looking girl with long reddish hair that looks a lot like Mom’s hair, and decided she would be our trial baby doll.
I decided that wrapping up the baby doll with her other Christmas presents might be odd since the hope was that Mom might think of the doll as a real baby, and we know that babies don’t come wrapped up in Christmas paper. In my Christmas wrapping frenzy, I put the still boxed up doll on top of a pile in the hall closet.
The next morning, the day after Christmas, I woke up to find that the doll had been found and moved right next to Mom on the bed! So the baby girl doll clearly hit a chord. She has been living on Mom’s bed when she is not being carried around the house.
I had mixed feelings about whether it was the right time for such an item for Mom. I don’t want to insult her stage in life, and yet, more sophisticated things don’t bring her as much pleasure now.
Mom’s own reactions to the doll vary from day to day. One day Mom kept running over to give her baby doll kisses and telling me how cute she was. She often carries her around the house. Tonight though she turned to me and said, you know she’s not real? But I cannot help but think that with the chaos in my house these days, who is say what is real and what is not? I tucked Mom and her doll in for the night.