For family members, a loved one getting diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease or Dementia is the beginning of what is often a tiring and emotional experience. Getting one of the two diagnoses is extremely scary, with sufferers aware of the impending loss of brain function, but unable to slow down the process by much.
Many sufferers are placed in nursing homes where, despite receiving great care, they continue to decline. Up to 90% of adults with these illnesses suffer through a serious form of distress as a result of their diagnosis.
But a new form of therapy which is believed to slow down the worst effects of Alzheimer's and Dementia has been discovered. And it's catching on.
Doll therapy is a form of treatment which has been popularized in the last decade. Seniors are given dolls to take care of which eases their distress over time. In one of the first doll therapy studies in 2006, 69% of care staff in the targeted nursing homes reported thinking their residents' lives were much better. They noticed residents were interacting more with staff and other residents, had increased levels of activity, were more open to care interventions and were generally happier and more content.
But why is doll therapy so successful?