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Monday, September 15, 2008

Teddy Bears: Companionship, Grief Support, Containers for Cremated Remains

Cuddly bears often have comfort appeal for both children and adults. In nursing homes, many patients with dementia cherish their dolls and bears, sometimes referred to as “babies.” Imagine all the interesting conversations these fuzzy companions share with their nurturing owners.

Hospices use bears for companionship with dying patients and for grief support with families after loved ones have died. Some hospices collect donations of new bears from the public. Others have volunteers that sew “memory bears” made from fabrics of deceased loved ones’ clothing.

Nowadays, people even use stuffed bears as containers for cremated remains (also called “cremains”) of the deceased. Not only for memorial displays, these personalized bears with hidden pouches often accompany their owners during their daily travels. Death seems easier to bear when the gentleness of a soft bear enfolds loving memories.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog