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A Magic moment of Extraordinary Empathy

We have been exploring the use of doll therapy with a couple of our residents. The idea is that with some people this can satisfy their nurturing need which can otherwise be unfulfilled. The approach is not without its complications as we discovered when one resident became quite agitated with the responsibility of looking after what appeared to her to be a baby.

So we are now quite careful when we introduce dolls that look like babies, but we have recently been trying this with one of our residents who is expressing a strong need to nurture.

Today I was observing this lady who was in the loungeĀ chatting to the doll and caring for it. The resident who was sitting next to me commented on the fact that this lady was talking to a doll. I suggested perhaps she thought it was a baby. She thought about this for a moment, then simply statedĀ  “It’s the child she never had”. Which was exactly on the mark. How did she work this out ?

We are becoming increasingly aware of the extraordinary ability that some people with dementia have to read the body language of the people around them. Perhaps it something like people who go blind and develop their hearing abilities. Whatever it is, it is quite amazing and shows how important it is to create a relaxed and purposeful environment so that residents can feel safe and secure.

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