According to research, baby dolls and stuffed dogs that are loved by small children have also been found to be great therapeutic tools for seniors suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. Doll therapy, which is an inexpensive method of treatment, that does not need pharmacological drugs with their many dangerous side-effects, has been shown to help those suffering from dementia in all kinds of ways:
Reduces Behavior Problems and Psychological Disorders
Taking care of their new baby doll or their new doggie have a calming effect on people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. They suffer from less agitation, aggression, wandering and combative behavior. Studies show that this leads to a decrease in the need for medication.
Dolls and Toy Dogs Awaken Memories
Life size baby dolls and stuffed toy animals are good reminiscent therapy to awaken memories for the times these demented seniors took care of their own babies and pets. The dolls can open and close their eyes and have soft bodies that invite cuddling.
Arouses Feelings of Nurturing and Attachment
Research shows that taking care of baby dolls brings out positive feelings of attachment, nurturing and caregiving.
Helps to Maintain Skills
Caring for their dolls or toy dogs help seniors maintain skills such as washing, dressing, cuddling, singing, talking and dancing with the doll.
Aids in Socialization
The dolls are an impetus to socialize and communicate with other seniors, caregivers, family members and nurses about their dolls.
Dolls Help with Sleep Disorders
Rocking a doll to sleep, singing a lullaby and cuddling up with one in bed helps people with Alzheimer’s to sleep better. Sleep disturbances are very common with people suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Many Demented Seniors Believe the Doll is a Real Live Baby or a New Grandchild.
Many demented seniors believe the doll is a real live baby and a new grandchild. Likewise, those that have a toy dog believe it is a real one and will sit and pet it, feed it, clean it and take care of it as though it was alive. Some people think this is bad and that people with dementia are being deceived to thinking they have a real live baby or animal to care for.
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)
According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), about 5.7 million Americans, mainly seniors, suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, which is a progressive brain deteriorating incurable disease. Alzheimer’s causes severe memory loss and cognitive decline, psychiatric and behavior disorders, sleep disruptions, agitation and in its final stages a total inability to carry out the most simple day-to-day tasks. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, although according to the NIA it may really be the third leading cause of death because many cases go unreported.
Many People with Alzheimer’s or other forms of Dementia may Need Need Long-term Care
If you need to find a long-term care solution for your loved one, then pick a skilled nursing facility that specializes in taking care of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
The Park Crescent Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in East Orange, New Jersey offers care treatments and recreational programs designed to improve cognitive function and promote socialization for people suffering from Alzheimer’s dementia and other cognitive problems. For those in advanced stages, sensory stimulation therapies provide soothing and uplifting stimuli, using light, colors, music, and scent.
Doll therapy is a safe, non-pharmacological and less expensive way of treating patients with advanced dementia and Alzheimer’s and can help them with behavior problems, so they need less medication. The dolls or toy animals also arouse feelings of attachment and nurturing in those afflicted with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.