PROJECT BABY–Erin Kelley is pictured recently at Red Bud Regional Care, getting ready to present residents there with baby dolls as part of her “Project Baby.” Residents pictured with Kelley are: Dardenella Doyle, Opal Luthy, Minnie Hartenberger, Ida Krick, Pauline Holiday and Elda Guebert.
On a recent Tuesday afternoon, Erin Kelley arrived at the Red Bud Regional Care with a smile on her face and a basket of babies.
Kelley, who will be a senior this fall at Belleville East High School, recently started “Project Baby,” and has been delivering bundles of joy at local nursing homes.
She noted that the idea for the project came to her after watching a video on Facebook. Studies show that giving dolls to people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can soothe and provide comfort.
“Many of these people spend their time alone and in isolation from others, which often times can lead to depression,” Kelley explained. “The baby dolls give the residents something to care for and look forward to every morning. Looking after the babies gives them a sense of responsibility and purpose, even touching distant memories.”
At Red Bud Regional Care, Kelley met with some residents and asked them if they would like to help care for her babies. For those that were interested, she carefully placed a baby in their arms.
It didn’t take long before the residents were cuddling, rocking and singing to their dolls. Some shared stories of their own children from years ago.
For more on this story, please see this week’s print edition.