'It's special to see your loved ones smiling away' - woman raises money to buy companion toys for care home residents

elderly woman

Maria's mother with a doll she was given - Credit: Maria Monger

A Welwyn Garden City woman is fundraising for dolls and companion pets for the elderly after seeing how well her mother, who has dementia, reacted to them.

The dolls and companion pets are designed to bring comfort and companionship to elderly people, especially those with dementia.

After seeing the impact they had with her mother, Maria Monger was inspired to try and get as many as she could to help cheer up residents after a difficult year.

A carer at Elizabeth House care home in Welwyn Garden City gave Maria's mother a doll of a baby to play with and she lit up.

"It is something very special to see your loved ones smiling away," said Maria. "Seeing your loved ones deteriorate with dementia it is so very hard to see. I feel I've lost my old mum - but I will always visit & call my mum every day.

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"I have been fortunate enough to have been given a companion pet (dog). When I can get to visit my mum I will pass this pet over to her."

A companion pet is a robotic pet which reacts to being petted and stroked and is designed to help individuals with isolation, loneliness and cognitive decline.

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Maria added: "I know the little dog will be a great hit with the residents in my mums unit. I am collecting baby items for the nursery corner at the care home.

"I just feel that the elderly have been forgotten during these strange times if I can bring happiness to these people means a lot to me to show kindness is all that is needed as some have no families that visit them regularly."

So far Maria has raised £70 and received donations of some dolls, but hopes to raise up to £1,500 as a single companion pet costs more than £100.

Maria said: "The cost of these dolls and pets are not cheap so I thought I would try the Go Fund Me Page.

"I have been fortunate with the people on the Welwyn Garden City Facebook page as I asked for donations of baby dolls, and I am so pleased that some are donating baby dolls."

If you would like to donate to Maria's GoFundMe visit : www.gofundme.com/f/j92353-companion-pets-for-the-elder

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