Doll Therapy for Dementia Patients in Memory Care

One of the most troubling parts of watching a loved one struggle with dementia is witnessing the anxiety and agitation that they may face. At Poet’s Walk memory care facilities, our goal is to enhance the well-being of our residents through meaningful, supportive therapies dedicated to holistic wellness.

Among the various forms of recreation therapy that our caregivers provide, we have found doll therapy is one of the simplest and most therapeutic. This form of therapy is designed to effectively and safely ease distress for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, as well as to alleviate any daily anxiety that a senior may face.

How Does Doll Therapy Work?

Doll therapy, also known as cuddle therapy, is an alternative form of therapy used to enhance well-being and reduce the mental health symptoms that are associated with memory loss. Within this form of therapy, residents are provided a life-like doll, which they “care for” as part of their daily activities. In caring for the doll—by holding, rocking back and forth, and cuddling with—seniors can gain a deeper sense of purpose, helping to reduce depression and anxiety while encouraging a sense of love and self-worth.

Advantages of Doll Therapy for Easing Senior Anxiety

Studies show that when used for dementia patients, doll therapy increases positive behaviors and reduces negative ones. As with pet therapy, the benefits of doll therapy are designed to trigger empathy and a sense of contentment. Through doll therapy, our caregivers have seen improvements in:

  • Cuddle Therapy at Poet's WalkStress Relief – Holding and rocking a doll has shown to help calm patients, providing them a sense of serenity.
  • Wandering – A common symptom of dementia, instances of wandering have shown to decrease when residents take an interest in caring for and focusing on a doll.
  • Medication Distribution – Serving as an alternative form of stress and anxiety relief, many caregivers have found that patients who take advantage of doll therapy are less dependent on anxiety medications.
  • Self-Esteem – Because seniors gain a sense of purpose when taking care of their doll, we have seen many patients experience a boost in confidence.

Even as your loved one’s memory may fade, it is still possible for them to enjoy a sense of love, peace, and meaning. Through the Signature Touches of Poet’s Walk, we ensure that our residents are offered the appropriate therapies to help them enjoy the best quality of life possible.

Would you like to learn more about the therapy services that we offer at our memory care assisted living facility? Contact us to learn more or arrange a tour.