This morning, I purchased my fourth comfort doll for a Mansion resident, the Little Peanut Baby Doll from Ashton-Drake, it cost $129.99. I was uncertain about the “comfort doll” movement in memory and elder care, some people argue it might be infantasizing.
But when I see how the residents respond, how much these life-life replicas of newborn infants mean to them, I am completely sold on the idea. This is a very strong investment, a powerful small act of great kindness.
Last week, I brought Ellen a comfort doll from Ashton-Drake, and Alice, a much older resident, told me she couldn’t bear to hold it, she would cry. Would you like one of your own?, I asked.
“Oh yes,” she said, “I never imagined having one of my own.” Helen, a reticent, shy very sweet resident did hold Ellen’s doll, and she said she would also love to have one, she never had anything like that in her life, she said.
These comfort dolls have become a fixture in the Mansion. They calm the residents, comfort them, give them a focus and mission. They are talking point, an activity, a responsibility.
The aides are unanimous in telling me these dolls are making a positive and substantial difference in the lives of the women who have received them.
And they rekindle the very powerful drive to nurture that exists in many women and in many men.
Two of the male residents have asked me about these dolls, but it is clear they would feel embarrassed to have one or ask for one. I wonder if there is an equivalent of the “comfort doll” for them. As with many men, they hide their emotions from the world.
These are the things we in the Army Of Good can to do till the holes in the lives of the Mansion residents, many of whom feel abandoned and left behind.
I see that for many of these women, to nurture is to be alive in a way some had thought they could never be again.
As the holidays approach, I will step up my search for comfort and inspiration. The Karaoke Machine is ready to go, we’re just looking for good times to bring it into play.
Today I’m bringing a big box of underwear, sox, tights, nightgowns and a bathrobe over to the Mansion. It’s cold her now, and we’re doing a thorough check on what it is that the residents might need.
Thanks so much for your support.