A local church is raising money to give baby dolls to memory care patients.
Heartland Hospice, which services Raleigh and Durham, has seen success with doll therapy for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A partnership with Hope Community Church has already put 55 dolls in the hands of patients.
What do the dolls do for these patients?
“At some point for some people during the disease, they no longer see the baby as a doll. They start to see it as an actual baby,” said Lisa Levine, program director for Alzheimers North Carolina. “They then relate to that as a child and they can take care of the baby, use that natural instinct to give care.
“They go back to a role they had for a long time in their lives that they had in their life but don’t have anymore.”
Levine said doll therapy doesn’t work with every dementia patient, but it can be successful for women who spent much of their lives mothering.
“A lot of times when someone has dementia it is hard for them to find or hold onto any purpose or meaning in their day because it is so confusing,” Levine said. “Short-term memory goes first with dementia and they hold on to emotional memories and long-term memories. It was a big part of their life and they can revert to that.”
For patients who begin to see the dolls as real babies in their care, Levine said it is important that the dolls look realistic and that others around them always treat the toys as gingerly as they would treat a newborn. It’s a plus for the patients that the dolls are low-maintenance.
“It’s not a crying baby, it’s always happy all of the time. and it’s easy to take care of them all the time,” Levine said.
A social worker at Heartland mentioned to a member of Hope Community Church there was a need to get more dolls to patients.
“We were looking for someone to serve and heard about Heartland Hospice and the need for dolls,” said church member Karen Murphy. “We started a GoFundMe account and started collecting. We are members of a small group at Hope and we call ourselves ‘women on the battleship’ to remind us that we are not on a cruise ship, but rather working for the Lord.”
The Hope Community Church group has raised enough money so far to donate 75 dolls to memory care patients. The first 55 have already been delivered.
The fundraising continues online at www.gofundme.com/babydolls.
Crossnore School presentation
Caroline Hart from The Crossnore School will speak at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 4, in the conference room at Highland United Methodist Church, 1901 Ridge Road, Raleigh.
The Crossnore School is a nonprofit residential foster care home in the Blue Ridge Mountains that offers hope and healing for North Carolina children in crisis. Everyone is invited to the presentation.
Dr. Juan A. Carmona will offer a series of classes on contemporary theology at Saint Andrews Presbyterian Church.
Topics will include orthodoxy, liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, process theology and liberation theology, as well as African-American and feminist theologies.
The classes will be from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Thursdays, Jan. 7-Feb 25, in Room 5 of the church, located at 7506 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh.
Carmona is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church of America and is a Latin-American theologian and author.
All sessions are free and open to the public. For more information, call 919-847-1913.
Carla Turchetti compiles Faith in Focus each week. Email her with details of upcoming events at firstname.lastname@example.org.