Life like baby dolls helping Alzheimer patients remember the past

Gail Raines was nominated for Pay It Forward for donating her Gigibeans to Alzheimer's patients. (Image: WTVC)

There's a nursery at Morning Pointe Senior Living in Hixson and the babies are helping Alzheimer's patients remember the past.

The babies are just dolls, but they look so real they're improving the quality of life for residents.

Newschannel 9's Jessica Harthorn surprised the woman who donated the dolls in this week's Pay It Forward.

Gail Raines says she found out about cuddle-therapy a few years ago, but now her Gigibeans Cuddle Sprout dolls are making a big difference for seniors with memory loss.

So far, she's donated more than 100 to Alzheimer's patients all over the world.

Baby Hannah is part of the family at Morning Pointe Lantern Memory Care in Hixson.

Joyce McRae says cuddling her brings back good memories.

"I love the eyes on this one," said Joyce.

Baby Hannah's eyes look so real, but she also smells and feels like a real baby too.

Medical experts say the dolls help reduce anxiety, anger and communication difficulties in people with memory loss.

"It really takes residents back to a time when they had children and loved them so much, so it brings back a wealth of emotions," said Sandra Parrish, the Lantern Program Director at Morning Pointe.

They were made by Gail Raines, a woman from Red Bank who decided to pick up the hobby a few years ago.

Her friend Jane Lewis was with her at Morning Pointe, the day she donated her first doll, and that's the place she lured her back for the big surprise.

"Sorry, what are you doing here?" asked Gail.

"On behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, I want to Pay It Forward to you," surprised Jane.

"Oh my goodness!" said Gail.

"So here's 1, 2, 3, 4, $500 for sharing your love and your GigiBeans with all these nice people," said Jane.

"Thank you!" said Gail.

Gail showed us how she makes the GigiBeans.

She says it took her 12 hours just to paint Baby Lane, achieving that rosy newborn look.

Then she adds hair and glass beads for weight.

"You have to support the head and the bottom when you hold it," explained Gail.

Joyce loves to do just that. Baby Hannah is now a big part of her daily routine.

"Now go to bed, go to sleep," said Joyce.

Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for volunteering to help others? Nominate them here.

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