The York Care Centre in Fredericton is using life-like dolls to bring comfort to people living with Alzheimer’s disease.
The Cuddle Therapy Program allows residents in the Birch Grove unit of the centre to chose between holding ‘Baby Luke’ or ‘Baby Hope’.
Birch Grove activity coordinator Mariah Giberson tells Global News the dolls have a calming effect on patients.
“If they’re agitated or they’re anxious and you say ‘would you like to hold my baby?’ their eyes light up and they have big smiles on their faces,” Giberson said. “So you kind of pass it over to them and just instantly you can see how their demeanor just kind of changes – they calm down and they’re smiling…they’re laughing,”
Manager of activation and volunteer services Stephanie Seymour says she sees the joy and happiness the babies bring to everyone who holds them.
“It provides that nurturing role and reminiscence of it all. Everyone can easily connect with children, even if it is that they had that challenge of maybe a loss, but there’s always that connection being able to be made,” Seymour said.
There are 24 residents living in the unit who have Alzheimer’s. The centre has also built a nursery for the babies and staff say patients can sit in the nursery or have the babies brought to their rooms or living areas.
The centre has ordered four more babies from a custom doll maker in Miramichi. Staff say once they have the dolls they will roll the Cuddle Therapy Program out to other units in the facility.