As with all questions related to Alzheimer’s – especially at an advanced stage – what works for one patient may not work for another.
It’s worth a try, though.
All of us – Alzheimer’s patients included – have the basic human need to nurture. Sometimes the patient believes the doll is a real baby, and she may carry it around with her to make sure it’s cared for. And this can often be beneficial.
But there are no guarantees. I can recall a woman at an adult day care center who was constantly agitated. She had been a nurturing person, volunteering at hospitals her entire life In order to calm her down, the staff decided to give her a doll. At first, the tactic worked.
However, after a few hours, she began to worry about the “baby” needing to be fed. She then became agitated about it. In order to calm her down, the staff took the doll and said they were babysitting it. Once the doll was gone, the woman began to calm down. A few months later, the staff gave her the doll again. And this time, she was fine.
So you can have different results at different times…with the same person!
Your mother needs reassurance, and validation. Often, when Alzheimer’s patients ask about their children, they’re actually seeing their children as children. So tell her that her children are safe, secure, and doing well. Also, you need to be constantly aware of the need to re-direct her attention elsewhere, if necessary.
If you’re an Alzheimer’s caregiver, you know it’s a 24/7 job. And perhaps the most stressful, lonely job in the world. But we can help.
At The Law Offices of Alice Reiter Feld & Associates, we’re Elder Law attorneys. For one thing, we’ve got one of the largest Alzheimer’s/dementia resource centers in South Florida. For another, over the past 33 years, we’ve walked thousands of South Florida families through the Alzheimer’s Journey. And we’ve helped them prepare in advance for it, as well, with comprehensive estate planning, wills, trusts, powers of attorney, long-term care planning, asset protection plans, and assistance with the VA and Medicaid.
We can walk you through the journey, too. And we’re just a phone call away.