On the Road: 'Serenity Babies' Provide Therapy for Nursing Home Residents

Updated: 11/18/2013 5:27 PM KSTP.com By: Jason Davis

A central Minnesota couple is changing the way people think about imitation infants with their homemade Serenity Babies that provide peace and therapy for nursing home patients.

Cindy and Daryl Lindbloom spent the entire summer creating the babies at their St. Joseph, Minn. Loving Hearts Nursery.

The couple has four older children and seven grandchildren, but has recently produced a whole new clutch of irresistible infants all created and carefully painted by Daryl.

Creating these incredibly life-like babies is a new endeavor for the Lindblooms, and they were anxious to put them in the arms of those who could care for them most.

At a nursing home in Watertown, Minn., the Serenity Babies have been a big hit with residents including stroke victims like 96-year-old Doris Certo and her 15-year-old great granddaughter Belle Gaudreau. The two shared quality time together with baby John Gilbert, named after Doris’ Father.

Some residents enjoy the babies as if they were their own children. Toni Vaneyll, 85, suffers from dementia, but hasn’t been this happy for years. Roxie Wendlandt, therapy director said Vaneyll often sits calmly and peacefully in the hall with her baby.

“Once she saw the baby, it was like grabbing it, and the motherly instinct just takes over,” Wendlandt said. “She had a child of her own and lost that child. It’s calming her, and it’s restoring the motherly, caring instinct that she needs. So, it’s a way of giving her a purpose.”

The reaction from the older women at the nursing home is immediate and genuine.

When you watch her hold the baby, it’s like it’s real to her,” Wendlandt said. “That child is hers.”

The Serenity Babies cost at least $500, which is beyond the means of many of these women.

I want to become so wealthy that I can give the babies away,” Cindy Lindbloom said. “I could just say to her: ‘This is your baby.’”