Placing a reborn doll in the arms of an Alzheimer’s patient can calm him down to the point of being able to communicate and receive instructions. It’s a really positive niche for the reborn artist.
At Ashcroft Care Home based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, UK, they report that reborn doll therapy has reduced the number of patients using psychotropic drugs from 92 per cent in early 2008 to 28 per cent.
Minifee dolls in particular seem to have the best effect with these patients, as they are much more realistic than traditional dolls. The dementia area is a huge market that is fairly untapped for reborn doll artists. In my research I visited a website that featured the most moving photographs of Alzheimer’s patients holding their dolls. They seemed happy and calm.
Many dementia patients suffer from agitation and distress, doll therapy can alleviate this. Patients with dementia can be withdrawn and communication between patients and caregivers difficult, reborn dolls have been shown to be of great help in these areas. The British Psychological Society Conference presented this research on reborn doll therapy.
Minifee doll therapy seems to work very well with patients, as it takes them back to a time when they were very productive housewives. Due to the effects of dementia, many of these patients still believe that they are young, so when they adopt a reborn doll, it brings back happy memories of parenthood. Having a doll can spark positive memories of being useful and necessary; to be loved and to love.
doll therapy is best introduced in the early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease. In the early stages, the patient may know that the reborn doll is not real, but they will enjoy the pleasure of constantly naming and changing their clothes. Women in the middle stages of the disease are likely to communicate with the doll; The Alzheimer’s patient can communicate with the doll through singing, talking and hugging. They start to become very attached to their doll and keep it with them for many hours of the day.
Inserting a doll in the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease is not as effective as in the early stages. Introducing a doll in the early stages will allow the owner to get used to it and as the disease progresses bonding will be established and the patient can become comfortable with the doll in later stages.
However, reborn dolls are not a cure and the sufferer will not suddenly transform into their old self because of a reborn doll, but it is the comfort felt by the patient that is the true benefit of reborn doll therapy.
“I’ve worked with people with Alzheimer’s disease for 12 years and if you’ve ever seen one of my residents singing, cooing, interacting with the life-like doll, you’d know it works. Many of our ladies were stay-at-home moms and their number One of the priorities was 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 when they felt safe and in control We must join them on their journey, not ours!” (A quote from a discussion forum for Alzheimer’s patients.)
If you are touched by the above story and feel this may be your niche for making reborn dolls, we suggest visiting local nursing homes first to get a better idea of what is needed. Nursing homes do not always have the funds to purchase reborn dolls at full price, so you may need to contact the relatives of the patients. The positive effects of dolls need to be demonstrated in the nursing home for them to support doll therapy.
Take home some evidence about the positive effects of reborn dolls on Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients.
This is a very rewarding market to be in. Helping the elderly live out their years feeling more comfortable and in control is a great gift that your reborn dolls can give to society.
We wish you luck. frank and nicola