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Yesterday’s friends: Why seniors love stuffed animals

The very idea of a stuffed animal connotes something that is soft, cuddly and comforting. For the very young, these animals provide a level of security that can only be matched by a loving human counterpart. But what about senior citizens and those in elder care who may have lost the people in their lives who provided that same level of comfort and security? Can stuffed animals fill the void that a loving human once occupied?

We know a lot about the healing and comforting powers of stuffed animals. Which is why millions of people across the world buy them for, give them as gifts, or donate them, to the elderly and to those who can truly benefit from them.

More and more senior citizens are entering senior living facilities and nursing homes throughout the country. Many of them have lost spouses or loved ones. Some of them have no family to speak of, while others do not have routine family and friend visitors. Life can be lonely and challenging. When the elderly begin to feel that they have lost everything they once had, it can be very difficult to lift spirits.

That’s why stuffed animals for seniors are so important. These plush creatures are fully capable of putting smiles back on seniors’ faces, providing comfort, and allowing for endless hugging and nurturing. Stuffed animals remind the elderly of their own youth, or their children and grandchildren. Both elderly men and women can remember a time when they were younger and had a few stuffed animals or dolls that provided hours of entertainment. They remember buying or making them for their own children and watching them learn and grow with their own stuffies and dolls.

If you’ve ever been inside a nursing home you’ve probably heard the wailing of a elderly person who is not necessarily void of attention – they get medical attention and routine care – but often lack the physical presence of someone or something comforting. For those who live in skilled nursing facilities or require personal assistance, often times a stuffed animal becomes a source of entertainment or serve as something familiar within the room or at bedside. A stuffed animal or doll with a cuddly face and body can truly give people a feeling of comfort. Just one squeeze of a stuffy and all your troubles seem to melt away.

For those who may have a hoard of gently used stuffed animals that they would like to unload, consider donating them to a senior living facility or nursing home. There are surely plenty of senior residents who would love to snuggle with them, talk to them, comfort and be comforted by them. Giving a second life to a stuffed animal while brightening the day of an elderly person is truly a remarkable gift.