Heartbreaking story of elderly woman with dementia who found solace in doll she treats like a baby

Edduin Carvajal
Nov 16, 2018
03:54 P.M.
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Jessie Ball is a 94-year-old lady with dementia who feeds, cuddles, and even sings to a baby doll. She believes that the toy is her grandchild.


Sandra, Jessie’s daughter, revealed that her mother has been living in a residential home in Birmingham, England, since June 2018. From the first moment Jessie moved in, she stopped smiling.

One of the things that often broke the hearts of Sandra and the rest of her family members was that, when they visited her, she would ask when she could leave, so not even her own family could bring her joy.

Even though it was a hard decision, it was necessary as Jessie’s illness was so severe that she would cook fries in washing-up liquid and start wandering around her house’s garden at night.



Thankfully, Sandra's sister found something that brought Jessie’s joy back: a baby doll. As Daily Mail reported, the senior lady mothers and talks to her just as if it was a real child. Jessie believes that it is Sandra’s daughter.



“My mum will look into the doll's face and say to me ‘isn't she lovely? Look at her smile.’ Then mum will smile too - she rarely smiles at anyone else. I think, to me, the doll has kept my mum going longer,” admitted Sandra, who works as a hairdresser.


The proud daughter confessed that she knew people often use dolls with dementia patients, but she never considered they would do it, too. Thankfully, her sister, Carol, bought one from a charity shop, and things drastically improved.



While some people might consider that giving her a fake doll to take care of is depraved, Sandra set clear that it has helped Jessie to stay calm and to be happy, something difficult in patients with dementia as they deal with a lot of stress.



According to, there are a couple of things to take into consideration when introducing a doll to a person with dementia. One of them is never forcing it as the senior person needs to approach, hold, and be stimulated by it on their own time.

Apart from that, people should not call the doll a “doll” or a “toy,” and they should avoid the type of dolls that cry out loud as it could be more upsetting.


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