Realistic Doll Alzheimer's and Dementia Therapy
There are approximately 5.5 million Americans living with Alzheimer's dementia. This is nearly one in eight older Americans. These numbers are expected to triple by 2050. An estimated 80% of Alzheimer patients struggle with distress due to the disease.
Studies from 2007 suggest that lifelike dolls increase positive behaviors in Alzheimer's patients. Seniors make caring for their doll an integral part of their life. This adds structure to their lives and brings back happy memories of parenthood. When an Alzheimer's patient was given a doll to hold and take care of, many seemed more relaxed and were often shown to have less agitation. As families of Alzheimer's patients understand, any bit of help that might soothe their family member is certainly worth it.
Tips for Using Doll Therapy for Alzheimer’s
Consider the following suggestions when introducing a doll to your loved one:
- Communicate the purpose of the doll for anyone else who may be providing care.
- Do not force a doll on any senior: allow them to approach, hold and be stimulated by the doll on their own time.
- Do not call the doll a doll.
- Do not purchase a doll that cries out loud, as that could be upsetting.
- Provide a bassinet or small crib for the doll.