Uses


The dolls are like little spirits watching over you!

The dolls make warm, comforting companions for seniors. They are particularly appealing to elders of both genders who live alone and are isolated – who are grieving the loss of a partner – who are facing chronic or terminal illness. The dolls typically evoke memories of their own special relatives and of meaningful personal experiences and historical events. They provide a material conduit for emotional expression while fostering social interaction.

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AUNT POLLY and UNCLE PETE dolls have therapeutic value for individuals and groups…

For Individuals ~

The dolls serve as surrogate companions and confidants for the lonely and isolated – as a comforting presence for the ill – as a model of strength for the dying. They can be used as transitional objects for those moving into dependent living. They facilitate conversation such as the disclosure of emotional needs and important life events.

These dolls are social adjuncts to the many technical devices designed for seniors.

For groups in day programs and assisted living ~

Nurses, social service staff, recreational and activity therapists, and volunteers of all ages can easily use the dolls as a focal point to promote healthy activities ~ such as Social interaction, Arts & Crafts projects, Physical activities (gardening, bird-watching, knitting, etc.) and many other creative projects. In group settings, the dolls become catalysts for stories and memories, strengthening the connection between peers and allowing each person to recognize the value and special purpose of their lives.


As the elderly begin stages of adult regression and become more childlike in various ways, the grandmotherly figure – embodied in the Aunt Polly dolls – proves to be a great comfort as both friend and confidant.”
~J. Whitt, Resource Coordinator
Greenspring Retirement Community, Virginia


For Hospice Patients ~

The dolls serve as a constant at change of shifts or departure of family. Their warm and comforting expressions provide an emotional touchstone; and they have been found to elicit important existential questions. The dolls are often reminders of family members who have passed away with dignity and courage, thus modeling an easier rite of passage. At death, the dolls can be given to family in memory of their loved one and as a continued thread of connection ~ a symbol of enduring love!

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Training Aides and Volunteers ~

The dolls are perfect props for role play as a way to demonstrate caring behaviors and communication styles. They stimulate ideas for creative activities and social interaction with and among residents. They build teamwork by eliciting staff experiences with their own elderly family members and friends as well as discussions about managing problem residents. The dolls can be used as a debriefing tool for deaths and difficult issues.

For Dementia Patients (Mild and Moderate) ~

These unique Alzheimer and Dementia Dolls are effective social supports. Persons with early and middle stage Alzheimer’s or Dementia easily identify and bond with these realistic-appearing older dolls.

The dolls can improve the moods and behavior of those with dementia by stimulating mental alertness and memory, by promoting communication and belonging, by fostering renewed interests and vitality, and by offering comfort and companionship. The dolls can provide physical contact and their very presence can relieve anxiety.


These older dolls are perfect for use in stimulating memories and in therapeutic situations calling for calming. They are very helpful in situations where you may want age-appropriate and nurturing implements to use with adults with dementia. And these dolls reflect the age and persona of their owners so help with bonding and comfort.”
~ Matthew Janicki, Ph.D.
Associate Research Professor
Institute of Disability and Human Development
University of Illinois – Chicago
http://mainecenteronaging.umaine.edu/people/profile/matt_janicki_phd


Teaching and Research ~

The dolls are effective in eliciting attitudes on aging from students of various disciplines studying geriatric care. They can be used to teach healthy aging as well as to prompt creative therapeutic ideas to address needs of our aging population. The dolls are a functional tool for studying stress and illness, loneliness and anxiety, nostalgia and memory, bereavement and existential beliefs.

Read the New York Times article “What Is Nostalgia Good For? Quite a Bit, Research Shows”: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/science/what-is-nostalgia-good-for-quite-a-bit-research-shows.html

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The Aunt Polly and Uncle Pete dolls that I purchased are so worth the investment. They are beautifully crafted with many special features, a tribute to aging in their own right! As a gerontologist at a medical school, having props that reflect optimal aging are important. By nature of the dolls’ outfits alone, they represent older adults who are engaged in socializing (Sunday best outfit), gardening and physical activities (work clothes), and, of course, rest at night (bed clothes) – all very healthy behaviors for adults of all ages. The students’ reactions to these dolls are positive and inquisitive plus they always stir instructive stories about aging. These responses in and of themselves aid our quest to challenge the primarily negative stereotypes of aging that our society is challenged to release!”
~ Marilyn Gugliucci, Ph.D.
Professor and Director for Geriatrics Education and Research
University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine
http://www.une.edu/faculty/profiles/mgugliucci.cfm

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