I am a care partner for my 67 y.o. bride. Over the last 6 months she’s been very talkative about her breasts. She even mentioned to our caregiver that she was going to have another baby and wondered if someone would show her how to breast feed the baby.

So I wonder:

1. Should I get her a doll?

2. Is this demeaning to her as an adult who is living with dementia? I feel like I would be treating her as a child.

3. Did anyone else struggle with your emotions in this way?

I have a hard time with my own emotional state in this awful disease of Alzheimer’s.

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My husband was in the military, a blue collar hard worker, a carpenter, and a commercial boat captain. He has AD, and he enjoys stuffed animals. His collection includes; Babar, Popeye's Swee'Pea, Marvin the Martin, etc. Several etc’s. They are mostly in view at bedtime.

He doesn’t exactly play with them but places them here and there. He gently places the one that looks like a rat beside our cat while he sleeps. He shows interest and affection to these screwy things, (I'm not a stuffed animal or doll person). I'm grateful to see the usual tension and confusion in his face melt away when he’s moving them about. His face relaxes and the smallest smile appears. 

I'm a bulldozer when it comes to protecting my man before caring what others may think. This benign behavior, in his condition, is not a reflection of who he was or who I am, and if somebody thinks so, so what? If I didn't permit him these sad small crumbs of solace then THAT would be a reflection of me. He is a child. An innocent.

I respect the man he was by keeping him clean, fed, comfortable, physically healthy, and by not letting him walk out of the house with my clothes on. If when I'm preparing lunch he enters the kitchen wearing my clothes over his clothes while holding a flashlight in one hand and a bag full of wiffle balls in the other, then, like the song goes, That’s Entertainment.  

I have difficulty understanding your 3rd question.

I'll guess what you mean. Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I think you are terribly disturbed about a number of gut twisting and frightening emotions that are, often conflicting. It’s normal.

First and foremost, of course you’re worried and heartbroken about the person you love.
It is not selfish to be disturbed about what this is doing to you. She was not supposed to change and dissolve away. You counted on her. She was the glue. She was in a sense you.
Your nucleus is upending and fracturing. 
Your relationship with others is changing.
You question how you’re going to manage those changes, but more importantly…
You may be wondering how you are going to change, what will you change into. Who will you be?

You may be having a difficult time with this heartache because it's new to you.

You may be a bit ridged with your ideas and expectations. It's understandable. You’ve gone through the looking glass, and it’s a cruel kind of h*ll in here.

We know what we know and crazy does not fit into our logical minds, and as an adult you suffer more because we are set in our ways. Our mental and emotional plasticity is not what it use to be. It's difficult because it’ll seem like you’re splashing around the deep end of the pool looking for the edge to hold on to while simultaneously caregiving, and maybe working, and you're alone.
To boot, sadly, some people you know will become strangers. Even this is an education that will serve you. Those people were always strangers. You will recover and have a different kind of wisdom, that is kinder.

Helpful to me is to try to detach when I could and observe my days like a kind curious outsider. I take deep slow breaths often. Music is medicinal.

Watch YouTube programs (i.e. Teepa Snow) and get educated on this subject. Try different support groups on for size, until you fine a good fit. You’ll find comfort for the time you’ll spend in this new culture. It's temporary.
And you’ll see how you evolve and come out of this a superior person.
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Terrysmellgood Jun 12, 2022
Thank you Michelle. Your comments were very helpful and encouraging.

As time progresses with this disease it seems like Jan is sliding down a very slippery slope. Just yesterday she had an evaluation from the LTC insurance company. She got very little if any thing correct when she was asked questions.

This week has been filled with disturbing nights. Her sleep patterns are worsening. So consequently, so are mine.

She is so very close to needing a MC facility. But not yet. I hope I will be brave enough to make the decision when it’s time. - I love her so much and will do anything I can to hang on as long as I can.
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Yes, get her a doll as many women with Alzheimer's feel a renewed sense of purpose when caring for a baby again.

Please don't feel it's silly, or apply your rules of normalcy to a disease that robs your wife OF all normalcy. Wherever she can find joy, she should take it.

Best of luck to you
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In one residential facility lots of our ladies had a baby doll. Once one was brought in other ladies wanted one too. Rather than being seen as a child's toy, the babies took these ladies back to a happy, fulfilled time of life. Many people seem to go back to that time of life when they were happiest and for some women that was when their children were babies.
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So many good answers here.

I too had this question when my husband was exhibiting childlike behaviors. I talked to my therapist (yes, I needed one to keep me sane) about this matter and she said it didn’t matter what others thought. What mattered was how my husband felt about having a stuffed animal. If he liked it, awesome. If not, try something else. I got him a small coyote and he loved it. He kept it with him all day long, even in bed. He was happy, so I was happy. Now, my husband is in advanced stage of dementia. His fingers are contracting so much that he can only hold a rolled up hand towel to prevent him from digging his nails into his palms. But I am digressing …

Get your wife a doll. If she likes it and is happy with it, then you are doing yet one more thing lovingly for her. Don’t worry about what others think about her.

You are a good husband.
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I bought my dementia mom a 20 inch baby doll on Amazon. She played with it daily plus slept with it too. My daughter who is 33 years old thought it was strange but I did not care. It entertained my mother for hours. She was happy playing with it. Here is the Amazon link:
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My 100-yr old aunt with mod/adv dementia (and who was never married or had kids) has decided that a multi-colored stuffed llama is her "baby". We just play along as she treats it tenderly, like a baby. This is purposeful activity and good for her. It's weird as their LOs to watch this, but if it helps them...yay!
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cpell122112 Jun 11, 2022
Your aunt is 100? God Bless Her!
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Your wife is so young for this. I would get her a doll. One as real looking as possible but not those ugly ones that look like newborns. There are prettier ones. By clothes too so she can change it. Blanket and diapers. Dolls help with anxiety. Dressing and undressing the doll will give her something to do.
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Cover999 Jun 7, 2022
In a community near me they're looking for a 65 yr old man with Advanced Alzheimers.
A woman in my mother's nursing home had a doll, not very realistic, a little too small, and rigid. She adored it. It had jelly on its face from her feeding it toast in the morning, she rocked it and loved on it just like it was a real infant, and she and I had many discussions about how babies keep you terribly busy, and oh, aren't they such fun, and so on.

She also had one of those realistic-looking cats, and she'd changed out her "babies" all the time.

My mother loved cats, and would talk all the time about how much she wanted another kitty, so I bought her a realistic-looking stuffed kitty, but not the top-of-the-line model the other woman had. I gave it my mother, and she said, "Why'd you get me a stuffed animal?"

So much for good intentions.

I'd say get your wife the doll, and she may take to it -- or not. Don't break the bank on it just in case she turns out to be like my mother, though. 😉
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bcasteel Jun 12, 2022
Mom in law loved cats too. I bought her several stuffed ones - real looking and otherwise. She would cuddle them, sleep with them. It was a comfort to her. We did whatever, got her whatever she needed or wanted.
It is not demeaning at all. It is beautiful to respect their illness and be aware of what her needs are and what would bring her joy. Bless you! My mom started treated a stuffed animal like it was real and was calling it her baby. She had a lot of anxiety and holding "her baby" calmed her down. I got her a baby doll that was about 20" tall and she hold him and taps her hand on his back. She is so gentle and loving with her baby. She sleeps with him and it relaxes her. She raised 5 kids so it is obvious that this part of her brain that she used so often is being stimulated and giving her joy. I also got her a cat that makes meow sounds and purrs and she loves that also.
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My grandmother had dementia and they gave her a doll. All her life she cared for children and loved babies especially. I think it was a comfort to her to hold it. They actually put it in her arms when they buried her. It was very sweet.
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