Sunday, November 5, 2017

Alzheimer’s Dementia Doll Therapy (Research, Video 3:05)

Dementia affects more than 47.5 million people worldwide, and the number is expected to increase as the population ages. Doll therapy has often been used as a management strategy for people with advanced dementia to decrease stress while adding responsibility, caring and structure to their lives. However, for too long, there was no protocol or official record of scientific experimentation of doll therapy success. A review of 12 studies reports that dementia doll therapy usually improves cognitive, behavioral and emotional symptoms along with overall well-being. Doll therapy is recommended because it helps many people with dementia relate better to their external environments.

Doll therapy continues to be a source of interesting discussion. These are two considerations people sometimes have before presenting a doll to someone with dementia. Will the doll be viewed as an added responsibility the person doesn’t want to assume? Will the person resist playing with a doll known not to be a real baby? The adult daughter in the video below shares her mother's reactions to the doll she gave her.

“This is my Mom. She’s 84 years old and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about three years ago. She will be moving into a home this weekend and has been depressed and crying for days. I learned that doll therapy is now being widely used with seniors. I fell in love with this particular doll’s smile and realistic appearance and ordered her right away, hoping she’d give Mom something to make her feel less alone during her transition.”

Did the doll gift work? Draw your own conclusions. 

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

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