Reborn Doll News
February 14, 2010
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. It is a really positive niche for the reborn artist.
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 Dementia patients can be withdrawn and communication between patients and caregivers difficult, reborn dolls have been shown to vastly help in these areas.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 therapy.
"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).
Therapy 'nursery' unveiled at Grandview Lodge
By MATT DAY, THE CHRONICLE
The men had their room, now it's time for the women to take advantage of an activity area of their own.
On Thursday, Grandview Lodge unveiled its brand new "baby nursery" to coincide with the long-term care facility's doll therapy program which sees those living in the dementia ward benefit from taking care of small, life-like dolls.
"On the surface, you might look at someone holding and walking around with a doll and say, 'Isn't that demeaning?' The important tie in here is that these people have all lived busy, active lives and they need to find a meaningful activity that fits with their personality," explained Pam Clarke of the Alzheimer Society of Haldimand-Norfolk.
Kim Tamburri, program supervisor at Grandview Lodge, said she has already seen the benefits in men using the "garage".
"They go in there and fiddle around with the tools we provide and the fishing supplies," she said, mentioning everything is double checked to ensure the safety of the residents and staff workers. "We need to give them a purpose and help them add meaning to their lives. These are all things they've done previously in their lives and it's therapeutic for them."
That's why Tamburri said she wanted to add another activity room which would appeal to the other half of the Creek View wing's 32 residents.
"We've always had the dolls, but they weren't being used for their purpose," she said, adding she would often find the dolls left behind in different areas of the wing. "We wanted to really create a room which looked like a nursery so it reflects the type of environment they raised their kids in. We needed a place that looked normal to them."
Marked by a painted stork at the end of the wing to act as a cue for patients, the nursery features a bassinet, change table and laundry basket.
"They can come in here, fold the clothes, change the dolls and communicate with one another. We've already seen it happen before the room was finished," Tamburri said.
While painter Mary Jo Lyle was finishing up the details of the room, patients would often visit her and provide input into how the nursery should be decorated.
"To see success already is wonderful. To see you're reaching out to them and providing something useful for them is such a pleasant feeling," said Tamburri.
The Alzheimer Society's Kathie Savage said the ability to love and nurture is one of the last things a person suffering from dementia loses.
"People with dementia have people looking after them all the time. This program gives them the ability to look after somebody else. It builds up their quality of life and adds a feeling like they're giving back to society which is very important."
The room was funded by Grandview Lodge's Festival of Trees event held last year. They outfitted the room, which used to be a sitting area, for under $2,000. That money also included the purchasing of new dolls.
Studies have proven a patient who has a baby doll to look after exhibit calmer attitudes, an ability to sleep easier and better social skills.
Staff have also effectively been trained on how to handle patients and their dolls.