Doll Therapy and Dementia

bigstock-baby-dolls-125872085.jpg​Home caregivers who are tending to individuals with dementia know full well the many daily challenges faced by both themselves and the people for whom they care. Finding therapeutic approaches which benefit a person with dementia can be challenging, especially since some patients respond well to one form of therapy (say, for example, music) but might not to another (perhaps aromatherapy). One option that caregivers may want to consider is doll therapy.

Doll Therapy

As the name implies, doll therapy essentially involves the introduction of a doll into the environment of a person with dementia. In general, a very lifelike doll is used, typically one that resembles an infant. Often, a person with dementia may have a visible and positive response to the presence of a doll. In some cases, the patient establishes a bond with the doll that has positive outcomes.

While it is possible that the use of dolls might trigger memories in some patients, this form of therapy typically has stronger results in behavioral areas. Many patients find that working with a doll has a calming effect and reduces agitation and anxiety. Often, patients may be able to re-experience and express affection, attachment, and a desire for nurturing through the use of a doll. This may in turn result in improvements in dietary or sleep issues and may in some cases also improve social interactions with other people.

Not For All

No one therapeutic approach works for everyone with dementia, so doll therapy may not be the best option for a particular patient. Those who are caring for individuals with dementia and wondering if doll therapy is appropriate should consult with their physicians.

Often, doll therapy is best undertaken with the help of a professional who  can provide guidance and advice on the best way to implement the practice.

Related Article
Music Therapy for Dementia Patients -


There are no comments on this post.
Looking for advice?

Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.

Sign up for advice

Home Instead offers free monthly newsletters with tips and advice for caregivers of elderly loved ones.

Please select at least one newsletter.
Valid email address is required
View sample
View sample
View sample