My aunt was diagnosed with stage 5 dementia a couple of months ago. Her mood changes day by day—one day, she cries that her teddy bear has died and the next, it’s sleeping with her and gives her joy. Do I take the teddy bear away or continue to let her care for it?- Gwen F.

Love objects, like stuffed animals or baby dolls, can be very comforting for some people with dementia. But they can pose challenges, such as the worry that the teddy bear has died. If she’s greatly attached, taking it away could be traumatic. If the teddy bear most often brings her joy, it might be a good idea to limit her amount of time with it (ask her to keep it for you for an hour or so, and then move on to another activity, or if you’re able, keep a close watch for when she starts to show anxiety about it and offer to take care of it for her). If the bear is causing more distress than joy, then start transitioning her to other activities that might also bring her comfort/joy: a real pet, music, or a weighted blanket, perhaps.