Seniors Doll Therapy programs will vary slightly in nursing homes but, they all agree the system does work!

A Doll Therapy program is used to assist patients who have Alzheimer’s or any form of Dementia, who may be showing signs of stress, agitation or loneliness.

In Sunnycrest Nursing home, a nursery is set up in a quiet room with a change table, clothes and a bassinet. The room is open so the residents, family or caregivers can access it at any time or moment.  Each resident who responds or works with the dolls, do so in different ways that bring them structure, joy, companionship or a purpose to make their day seem more full or organized.  Some of the patients use a doll, all of the time.  Others just like to stop in and see how the ‘babies’ are doing or help change them or fold their clothes. 

Doll therapy programs have shown to help non-verbal patients verbalize again by using the basic process of speech; rocking, humming, singing or speaking to a baby.

Sunycrest Nursing home also uses stuffed animals in a similar way when a resident is upset.  Some find comfort in cuddling with a stuffed dog or bear. Others like the textile asset of having something soft and fuzzy to touch and play with.  When the patient is agitated or stressed, the caregiver hands them a stuffy and instantly they calm down putting all their focus onto the stuffy. This allows bed sheets to be cleaned, medications given, etc.

For the past few months, Gifts for Every Reason, has expanded their lap blanket donation to include crochet or knitted dolls and animals. Our favourite items to send out have been sleeping babies, dolls, teddy bears and octopus with tentacles.

Credit: Thank you to Sunnycrest Nusing home for sending us this update.