Doll therapy has been proven beneficial for many individuals suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Humans have a natural instinct to nurture, and therapy dolls provide a soothing outlet designed to ease anxiety and bring joy to patients with cognitive impairments. An estimated 60 to 90% of patients with Alzheimer’s disease experience some level of distress due to their condition. Doll therapy promotes positivity and can provide seniors with a rewarding daily activity that provides comfort.
Developments in Doll Therapy
Several studies have been conducted to show the various advantages to using baby dolls to aid patients with early-stage dementia. According to a 2014 article published in Frontiers in Psychology journal, evidence supports that doll therapy could be used to increase positive behaviors and decrease negative behaviors. Dolls have also been found helpful for adults with Alzheimer’s in the middle or later stages. With dolls in hand, many patients received the benefits of sensory stimulation, as well as companionship.
Doll Therapy Guidelines
While doll therapy has irrefutable benefits for many seniors, some caregivers remain concerned about this therapy approach. Some families find the use of dolls to be childish or demeaning. For others, a doll can act as a safety blanket, offering comfort to seniors who may be confused due to their progressing disease. When undergoing doll therapy, it’s important to follow some simple guidelines. These include not calling the doll a doll, providing a crib or bassinet for the doll, communicating the purpose of the doll to the senior, and not purchasing a doll that cries out loud.
When choosing a therapy doll for your loved one, there are many excellent choices on the market. One option include Cuddle Babies, a collection of seven dolls often used for doll therapy due to their realistic features and lightweight bodies. Stuffed animals are another option for seniors who prefer the companionship of a furry pet, rather than a baby doll. Teddy bears, dogs, cats, and other stuffed animals often mimic the real thing and are available in numerous breeds.