There’s something about having a baby around that just seems to bring out the best in people. And dementia patients are no exception to the rule.
Morleen Templeman is 83 years old and suffers from dementia. She resides at Feros Care’s Bangalow Residential Village in New South Wales and is normally unable to speak except for a few simple words.
“Morleen is troubled, and you can see that, but she can’t tell us why,” care manager Jo Dwyer says. “Only very occasionally, she might say ‘thank you’ or ‘pretty flower.'”
There are many others like Morleen living in aged care facilities across the world, and as they lose their memories, they also lose their abilities to communicate and perform many of the tasks they used to be able to do.
But things change for Morleen and her peers when 6-month-old Lola comes to visit. Lola Fletcher and her mother, Shelly, who works at the residential facility where Morleen lives, stop by regularly to entertain the seniors.
Article continues below
Our Featured Programs
See how we’re making a difference for People, Pets, and the Planet and how you can get involved!
Lola’s presence is more than just entertaining, however. For Morleen, it’s a much-needed memory boost as well. She immediately begins smiling and talking to Lola and does whatever she can think of to soothe and care for the infant. And Lola appears to enjoy the attention too.
“When Morleen sees Lola her whole body just changes,” says Fletcher. “She has this really maternal energy, and you can just see her shoulders become upright. She starts putting her hands out like she wants to hold Lola, her speech becomes so much more improved, she starts to talk in sentences. She’ll say ‘beautiful baby’ or ‘where’s the nappy?'”
Many others at the home have had a similar experience with improved memory, mood, and behavior since Lola began making her regular visits.
Watch the video below to see the relationship between a baby and an elderly woman blossom into something beautiful and mutually beneficial.
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?