When you visit our Connections neighborhood, you may see a resident or two holding a baby doll. While this may be off-putting at first, please know that it can be a wonderfully comforting thing for someone with dementia. The inspiration for Doll Therapy began with British Psychologist John Bowlby’s study on Attachment Theory. The theoretic explanation was thought to ease people living with dementia, and we have found that to be true.
Doll Therapy can help ease the resident’s anxiety and give them a sense of purpose, usefulness and being needed. Doll Therapy is a non-pharmacological intervention. Some residents will know it is a doll while others may think it is in fact a baby. Either way, they find it comforting.
Here at the Kensington we have found offering a baby doll is more often accepted then not. The residents look with eyes open and arms extended asking if they can hold it. We have had group discussions on babies, came up with boy and girl names and other residents have offered to “watch” a doll when the resident claiming it had to leave for the doctor, PT/OT, or meet with family. Our baby dolls have brought much joy to our residents.
Walking alongside loved ones with dementia can be an emotionally challenging and difficult experience. We hope that you can appreciate our intentions with Doll Therapy- to bring joy and comfort and a sense of purpose to those who need it at this stage in their journey.