Activities Director Recognizes a Need
Sarah Davis, Activities Director for the Reflection of Life Community at Sayre Christian Village, has a strong connection with her residents with dementia and was recently recognized by LeadingAge Kentucky for her dedication. She was awarded the 2019 Outstanding Service Award for Innovation for her work with the groundbreaking nonprofit group, Pearl’s Memory Babies.
She knows that as her residents decline further into dementia, their need to nurture increases. She has watched with amazement as residents that once knew a doll was a doll suddenly snuggle that baby doll tight, coo to it, feed it, dress it and refuse to be away from it.
They believe their baby doll is real.
Recently, Sarah commented to her resident, Carol, holding a baby doll at one of Sayre’s afternoon activities, “Hi, darling. Your baby sure is being good. He isn’t fussing at all.”
The resident responded, “No honey, Jason’s a good boy. He’s no trouble. He doesn’t fuss. He’s just teething, see?”
Sarah smiled at her as Carol pointed to the baby doll’s mouth that, sure enough, had two painted on front teeth as she proudly continued, “He just smiles all the time.”
Making a Difference
Because she believes so strongly in the power of this bond between dementia residents and “babies”, she mentioned that she would love if she could have more baby dolls to help enrich the lives of the other residents. Knowing that Sayre is a nonprofit that has to make a dollar stretch and that most of the residents are at or under the poverty line, getting good quality baby dolls was going to be out of everyone’s budgets.
You see, if the baby doll doesn’t appear real or have a good weight and feel to it, the resident won’t accept it as real, even if they are farther down the dementia funnel.
But, a real-feeling baby, presented in the right way, can be a very helpful, non-drug way to calm and soothe agitated seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia. These therapy dolls can even be effective in calming older adults with severe agitation or other significant behavioral changes.
Baby Doll Delivery Day
That’s when Sarah reached out to Pearl’s Memory Babies. The non-profit is a 501(c)(3) that relies solely on donations to be able to give ‘babies’ and ‘puppies’ to dementia patients. They went viral on social media the year before when a touching video of their ministry was shared across the world and by sites like People, Today Show, Good Housekeeping, etc.
Pearl’s Memory Babies ensures that ‘delivery day’ is special for both residents and staff. They work with Social Workers and Activities Directors, like Sarah, that go above-and-beyond for their residents to ensure that each resident receives a baby or animal that reflects their personality at zero cost.
Sandy and Shannon, of Pearl’s Memory Babies, donated 41 dolls and puppies, enough to include all the memory care residents of Sayre Christian Village, because Sarah had the courage to just reach out and ask. Sandy and Shannon’s mission is to share these gifts with as many dementia care residents as they have donations for and Sarah’s mission is to enrich the lives of her residents.
There was not a dry eye among staff the day Pearl’s Memory Babies ‘delivered’ the babies. The residents quickly set about the meaningful work of raising a baby; bringing real life to a doll just as their own is being robbed of the disease.
Join Our Team
Sayre Christian Village has been giving award-winning service to seniors in the Bluegrass for over 35 years. We are accepting applications for talented and caring team members. We are Fayette County’s only non-profit continuing care retirement community and a great place to work!