A Doll for People with Alzheimer’s Disease

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Baby dolls have proven to be very effective and beneficial to people with Alzheimer’s disease, yet there is no doll yet designed specifically for this purpose. An Atlanta company, specializing in products for people with Alzheimer’s disease is working with a major doll company to create “The Perfect Alzheimer’s Doll”.

You might think that a doll would not be appropriate for someone beyond their teens, but for elders with dementia the child-like figure is far more than a toy.

A doll can calm an agitated Alzheimer’s patient. They don’t argue with them, correct them or talk about them. Baby dolls can take a person back to a time when she was a mother, caring for her child – protecting it, feeding it and nurturing it – just as she herself may now require. A “baby” can be a conversation piece or a magnet for attention. For those who will not eat, eating along with their “baby” can solve the problem; for those who will not bathe, bathing with the baby can resolve that issue. And for others, it may be simply a way of coping with the disease and the many frustrations it imposes. It may appear to be just a simple doll, but it can serve a myriad of purposes.

“While visiting a dementia unit, a resident approached with a doll buggy. Before she was within earshot I was told that she considered her doll to be her real baby. So when she got closer, I asked her if I could see her baby. She replied, ‘This isn't a baby - it is a doll.’ The staff was astonished. I commented on the cuteness of her doll and asked her how long she had had it. Her reply, ‘Since it was born’!” (Kathy Hoekstra - Alz. Assn.)

The Alzheimer’s Store (http://www.alzstore.com) has offered “The Someone to Care For Doll” for several years. It has been highly successful and helped a lot of people with this disease. But unfortunately this doll is being discontinued because it is a “collectible” doll. “I suppose all good things must come to and end, but we are taking this opportunity to ‘make lemonade out of the lemons we were given’,” commented Mark Warner, co-owner of The Alzheimer’s Store. “We are now working with another doll company to develop and create “The Perfect Alzheimer’s Doll” – one that is better and serves the needs of this unique population.”

Caregivers, family members, healthcare professionals and people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s are being asked for their suggestions. “Let us know what qualities, features, etc., you believe would make an ordinary doll an ‘Alzheimer’s doll’,” said Ellen Warner. “Tell us stories about how you’ve seen a doll used by an Alzheimer’s patient; the comments of the proud ‘mother’; and any other clues that might contribute to the making of the perfect Alzheimer’s doll. We and many others would greatly appreciate your input.”

E-mail your thoughts and stories or, if you prefer, send a note to: The Alzheimer’s Store, 3197 Trout Place Rd., Cumming, GA 30041. For a free Alzheimer’s Store catalog send an e-mail or call (800) 752-3238.

About the Company

The Alzheimer’s Store specializes in providing products for people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Contact: Ellen Warner at (800) 752-3238, or go to http://www.alzstore.com .


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