We know about different kinds of therapies such as animal therapy, yoga/meditation as therapy, music therapy and more… All lot of these therapies actually help a lot of people with dementia; of these therapies make them feel more comfortable and calm.
Due to the distress caused to patients because of the disease, caregivers have found out that dolls help a lot of people living with Dementia, even in late-stage Alzheimer’s disease. However, while there are caregivers who agree to use this kind of therapy on patients with Dementia others are hesitant to use the unproven therapy. Certain families find it ineffective and upsetting to see their loved ones playing with dolls or being treated as “children”.
Just like anything in life, some people living with Dementia and their relatives may love this therapy and find it very effective and suitable, whereas others may not like it and that’s completely okay. We are all different, all individual.
With the help of Instagram, we came across an amazing website called “lulupegs”, founded by Liz Lee & Jerri Lynn Liechty, which both share something in common. Jerri Lynn’s mother is living with Dementia and Liz Lee’s mother has died from Dementia. One day after they met for lunch they decided to collaborate and start to make homemade dolls.
“I envisioned a soft and simple, handmade doll that could be warmed and used to comfort babies as they fell to sleep. Jerri Lynn perked right up and we started making some. Our dolls got cuter and cuter and began to sell. We decided to make it a joint venture and named the dolls “lulupegs™” after both of our mothers.” Says Liz lee.
Their idea in the beginning was to prepare these dolls for babies and children but later they found how helpful they are for people living with Dementia. According to Mona L. Hayden “The dramatic discovery occurred when an elderly woman diagnosed with dementia had become very agitated and withdrawn. Her caretaker handed her a lulupeg™ in an effort to appease her and the patient’s immediate response was definitely encouraging. Her features softened as she seemed to ‘recognize’ the puppy-shaped doll in her lap.”
After finding the “lulupegs” website, we decided to contact them, and they happily agreed to send us 2 of their home made Lulupegs dolls for free. We are very grateful and honoured to be able to trial these dolls.
We believe that is will be a wonderful idea to place the Lulupegs dolls in the Dementia Café in TLS once the Café is built. They can comfort customers coming to the cafe and make them feel more comfortable when they arrive.
We think that Lulupegs dolls are wonderful. They are just like a hot water bottle and can be used for cramps and aches on the body or just to warm up in winter. Anyone can use them, not only children or those with dementia.
Founder of the Dementia Café, Emily, also has experience with dolls and dementia. Her Mum is living with Dementia and according to her dolls are helping her Mum to feel better.
“My Mum has bears that she rearranges around the house and carries about. She knows they’re bears. She’s not a child and we don’t treat her like one. But we wouldn’t dream of taking the bears away.
Most were boxed up (after I moved out) they used to belong to me, when we saw that she took a shine to an old bear that sat on a shelf in our house this lead us as a family to get the old boxes of bears out. Now she has all of them and doesn’t like it if they’re not where she left them.
We happened to have a box of teddy bears as I used to have a bear collection. If they make my Mum happy then we as a family are happy. I wouldn’t suggest requesting someone with dementia to ‘play with dolls’ but if they find comfort in stuffed animals/bears/dolls then why not make them readily available.
I therefore believe that doll therapy would work well on Mum but as I said, of course it may not be for everyone. Nothing ever is. We are all individuals.” Emily says.
lulupegs™ are handmade dolls, made with all cotton materials and filled with a proprietary blend of natural grains. If you would like to purchase one of these dolls for your loved one living with Dementia, or for your child you can visit the website here.
If you like your Lulupegs slightly warm, the dolls can be placed in the microwave for 1 minute (make sure they are not too warm) or they can be also placed in the freezer to cool for soothing aches and pains.
They appear to have a very good influence on people living with Dementia. “patients are clinging to these dolls as a child would his favorite blanket.” says Mona L. Hayden.
We warmed them in the microwave for 1 minute, and we have to admit that they felt really soft and nice afterwards! The way that they are made with grains inside coupled with the fact that the fabric is of a very good quality means they’re so tactile and comforting.
We were sent two Lulupegs, an elephant and a cat. The elephant is larger and so slightly heavier, each one is different, which we think only adds to their charm.
As a vegan and conservation contentious charity, we love that the lulupegs resemble lots of different animals.
Everyone at the DC HQ now wants one to take home!