Doll Therapy for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Patients

Doll Therapy

Dolls have always been a favorite toy or collectible for children. Now they are being used to help Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Doll therapy is a somewhat new treatment that appears to be generating growing interest, thanks to research suggesting it can make a difference.

Although there are a number of other non-pharmacological treatments currently available including aromatherapy, music therapy, animal-assisted therapy and caregiver education programs, some caregivers have started implementing doll therapy for their patients due to the suggested beneficial effects. A doll can provide comfort and an opportunity to nurture and love. While doll therapy is being used more and more in nursing homes and other senior home facilities, many people are still skeptical of the treatment.

Doll therapy has been shown to promote improvements in patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia and their ability to relate with the surrounding world. Other benefits caregivers are seeing in Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers include:

  • Increased levels of engagement
  • More communication
  • Improved focus
  • Reduction in episodes of distress
  • Reduction in level of anxiety
  • Increase in happiness
  • Increase in activity and liveliness

If you are interested in learning more about doll therapy and if it would be a good option for your loved one, speak to their physician and caregivers. If they are open and encouraging of this treatment, then, provide opportunities for your loved one to hold and nurture a doll and observe their response.

If your loved one does not show interest or generate a positive response, doll therapy is not likely to be a good option.

While caregivers are seeing the benefits from this type of therapy, some are skeptical of the treatment because they see patients being treated more like children and are concerned that it is demeaning and patronizing. Another point skeptics make is that the doll is only masking behavioral issues rather than confronting them head on.

Patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia can experience some disheartening symptoms including loneliness and personality disorders, and new therapies are intended to help combat these problems. While doll therapy is not for every patient, it can be a beacon of hope for some.

At Paradise Living Centers, our Care Manager, Kristie Chadwick is a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP®) with comprehensive knowledge in the area of dementia care. She is a valuable resource to our residents and their families. You can also always contact our LPN, Tracy Strand at (480) 878-4112 to ask questions and address any concerns.