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Mother was looking through a magazine the other day and showed me an ad for a baby doll. Isn't she beautiful!, she said. I agreed. I asked her if she thought she'd like a doll like that, expecting to get her "I'm not a child" disdainful reply. But she said, "Of course. But I know it would be too expensive."

hmm ...

I've read lots of anecdotes in catalogs, but I'd love to hear from people with first-hand experience.

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Great news about your mom and the doll. I'm a doll fan, so I can just envision how special that visit was. I hope she continues to love it, but even if she doesn't, it will bring someone else happiness. I now treasure any bright moments that I can bring to my loved one. I know she won't recall it later, but that's okay. We just live for the moment.
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I had the same thought as Babalou. Penny may become something special to your mom and the other ladies at the table.

(When you said "Eunice" I immediately pictured Carol Burnette)
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I hope Penny, your mom and the ladies have a great time together.

I think something new to talk about and to focus on could be quite therapeutic for your mom AND her circle.
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I took the doll to Mom today. She thinks it is "beautiful."

I don't know how attached she will become. I can tell this already, though, she is going to get a lot of attention if she brings it with her out of her room! Aides and residents stopped at her table today to tell her how pretty her doll was.

She and the ladies at her table talked about naming it. One lady suggested Susie and she said "I have a Susie. I don't want my other daughters to feel jealous." I got close to her and said privately, "How about Eunice?" All she said to that was "NO!" (That was her given name. She changed it.) Mom said, "I have too many names in my head now and they are all mixed up. I need a list!" So I wrote down all the suggested names. She picked "Penny."

She held it a while wrapped in the blanket, and we took it for a BRIEF walk outside (it is really Fall here now.) I also brought a a little seat that slips onto a table, so the doll could be with her without holding it.

The lady who was with Mom when I brought out the doll was thrilled with it. She must have asked me 12 times where I got it and what brand it was. I answered the same and politely each time. Mother sometimes repeats a question, but not that bad, and not as severely as her dear sister-in-law did. That constant repetition can really wear a caregiver down! (My husband, Coy, had very little of that symptom, thank goodness!)

So it remains to be seen how the doll will work out in the long run, but Mom sure enjoyed it today.
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Sounds like a wonderful idea. And I am very interested in how your mom reacts. I have been considering one for my mom in AL. And I know I will get the same reaction from my siblings that you get from yours. Usually takes them much longer than it does me. I have found Mom craves hugs and kisses and touches. Don't we all?
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If your mom has changed her mind, your doll will have a good home with you, Jeanne!
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Doll arrived today. Oh, it is so sweet! I'm going to have to keep it here a few days to play er test it. Wouldn't want to bring Mom a defective gift, you know. :)

Daughter has contributed a crocheted blanket she used with her own kids. I can't walk through the room it is in without smiling. I hope it has that effect with my mom!
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Jeanne, I think it's a wonderful idea! Eager to see your mom's reaction when it arrives!
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Dolls are wondeful...I always liked them, and still do. My aunt is 99 and when she was born, there was a new doll called theToodles doll that came out around then. It was a chubby doll with a kewpie like rubber face and a cloth body. My mother, who was the oldest sibling, nicknamed my aunt Toodle, because my aunt was a chubby baby with a cute round face. So, about two years ago, I found a Toodles doll on the internet. It wasn't identical to the old original doll, yet it is authenic. I had my aunts' name (Toodle) put on the front of the dress along with the date of her birth. (June 3rd,1917). She doesn't play with it, but it is on a shelf in her nursing home. It gets a lot of compliments.. A lot of people don't even know that Aunt Toodle's actual name is Nell. She is either Aunt Toodle or Toodle. Some call her Toodles...marymember
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You know you're not nuts. It's a great idea. I'm looking forward to reading about how your mom takes to the doll.
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It is unanimous. My sisters think I'm nuts.

Oh well, not the first time. I'm ordering a doll. Stay tuned for the next installment (if you are interested.)
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I just went to a thrift store looking for a halloween costume and I couldn't stop myself from wandering over to the baby clothes. I don't know if Mom will want to/be able to dress her doll with her arthritic hands, but I hope she won't mind if I dress her sometimes! :) (The dolls wear a 0-3 month size.) Hope my sisters get back to me soon.
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That's great news! I bet she will love that doll.

I rotate pictures that I put in my cousin's room in Memory Care. She really loves cats, so I hung many of those photos, but I also ran across some horses in a calendar. I have found that calendars have lovely pictures that she can enjoy. She loved the horses and now she talks often of her boyfriend coming and getting her on a horse and taking her on the horse to her doctor's visit! She says he takes on the horse for dinner as well. It seems to bring her great pleasure.
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The director of nursing says a doll would be fabulous for my mother.

I've emailed all my sisters why I want to get Mom a doll and inviting them to be included IF they want to.

I've picked out a doll. I'll wait a bit in case my sisters want to help pick out a doll, and then I'm ordering one.

(I'll instruct family to save that doll for when I'm gaga. Or maybe even if I'm not. :)
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Thanks for all the answers so far.

I've talked to my daughter about dolls in her ALF. She knows of two ladies that have them in the memory care unit, and that one of her residents in the regular unit saw one and really wanted one, too, so her husband bought her one. (She has LDB) She really enjoys the doll in her room, but does not take it out.

I plan to call my mother's Community Life (activities) director and DON to ask their opinion based on their observations of my mother.

I've done a lot of looking and reading online. I believe the dolls I'd be interested in run about $90 to $150. I thought maybe my sisters would like to go in on this present, but so far, no interest. Of the four of us, I am the only one who researches and reads and attends seminars etc about dementia and I think sometimes they resent that. Weird. So I'll tread gently there. But I can simply get a doll on my own if I decide to do it.
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When I arrive back at childhood I want to play with horses and ride every single day. Just strap me on a saddle and make sure the horse knows to get home in time for supper.
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My Mom was diagnosed with Al/s 2 1/2 years ago, and since I'm Her Carer full time, I have done an awful lot of research on Caregiving simply because like so Many I had been thrown into the deep end of Caregiving with NO experience what so ever. I have learned that dementia and alzheimer Sufferer's love Babies and very young Children. They also love dogs, and I know that My very. Good Friend bought His Mom a toy...talking ( battery operated ) parrot on the Internet. Every day His Mom talks to the parrot continuously, laughs and sings to the parrot, This helps His Mom to continue speaking perfectly, with no glitches at all. She's happy and so content, and this affords Him a mountain of free time to Himself, though He's still there in the background. Have You noticed how infant Children love to play games, and care for Their little baby dolly ? Yes, and when We age and become older and arrive back to Our Childhood, then We will have come full circle, just like Mom and all of Our Elder's. It's only natural and all part of the cycle of Life.
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There is a woman in SNF with my father who is aphasic and is in a wheel chair. She has a large "baby" (about the size of a toddler) that she is never without. This doll apparently brings much comfort as she hugs and hums to that "baby" all day.
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Sunnygirl1 took my exact answer! Great minds.....

I visited a memory care once. It was in a huge Victorian house and the memory care floor was decorated to suit the Victorian period. And like Sunnygirl said, this memory care also had baby dolls and changing stations with diapers and bottles and pretend food, blankets and cribs. I saw several women interacting with the baby dolls.

It made my heart ache but in a way it was beautiful the way these women were so caring and loving with the dolls and I just knew that they had been young mothers once with kids of their own. All these years later and destroyed by dementia that mothering instinct was still in these women.

I think anything that provides comfort to our loved ones with dementia is worth looking into. If you get the doll please come back and let us know how it's going.
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Jeanne, I don't have any experience directly akin to yours, but do have something to share on a similar subject.

My mother had mentioned a few times that she and her siblings never had dolls because their parents were too poor to buy them.

So after Dad and Mom were married, she enjoyed collecting little dolls from a series offered by the now defunct A & P stores. Each doll was costumed in an outfit of a different country.

She also bought a few of the either sewn or crocheted dolls that cover toilet paper - this was also a time when people used doilies and dresser scarves so they were in keeping with decor of the time.

Another one she bought was a larger doll with a full skirt and partial overskirt, with the top skirt sectioned off in sections which each could contain 1 set of silverware place setting. She used those for outdoor gatherings we had.

They really were quite pretty and eventually I may just save them as they remind me of Mom.

Mom really enjoyed her dollies. There was one that was very special that Dad bought for her in Mexico, so we put it in her casket with her.

So if your mother likes the doll, I'd say buy it for her. There may be some childhood memory that, as for my mother, is underlying her desire for the doll.

As to not being a child anymore, adults collect dolls; I'm sure some are in fact collectibles and traded in those circles at cost levels of dolls none of us would be able to afford.

You can tell her you found a way to get the doll she admires at a discount and just make up a reasonable sum. That way she won't feel as if she's caused a financial expenditure that's unaffordable for you.
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My cousin was never big on dolls as a child or adult, but about a year into her dementia I decided to get her one. I had noticed that a couple of other ladies in the Memory Care unit had them and they seemed to bring them comfort. Much to my delight, my cousin, who is 64, loved the doll. It was a regular doll and not a lifelike one. She kept this doll with her for several months and even brought her with her to some doctor appointments. She told me repeatedly that she LOVED that doll. She said that she knew she was a grown woman, but she still loved the doll and it meant the world to her. She seemed comfortable wheeling around with the doll in her lap in the Memory Care unit and the doctor's offices.

Later she seemed to lose interest in the doll and now it sits on her bed most of the time.

I would invest in an inexpensive doll to see how your mom likes it. I know the lifelike dolls can be quite expensive.

One Memory Care facility that I visited had a baby station. It was very nice and included a crib, changing station, several dolls, bottles, etc. They said some of the residents really enjoyed it.

They also had a bridal area set up too. It had a veil, hair brush, flowers, etc.
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