It is currently estimated that over 850,000 people in the UK have dementia (Alzheimer’s Society, 2016), causing the loss of their intellectual, social and emotional abilities over time.
Doll Therapy is an activity which uses a doll to encourage a person to interact and aims to return a sense of self, meaning and purpose for a person with Dementia. This may seem, on the outside, patronising, but people with Dementia can obtain a great deal of joy and comfort from a doll (Self Growth, 2016).
With the evidence demonstrating Doll Therapy as a stimulating and meaningful activity, Greenhaw Lodge Activity Co-Ordinator, Colleen Doherty believed that Doll Therapy would have a positive impact on the residents within Greenhaw Lodge.
A life-like doll named Susie was introduced, which would be used during the therapy sessions. Susie played her part mainly with female residents who throughout their lives fulfilled the role of a parent or care giver. The outcome of Doll Therapy was astounding!
For many residents the doll had a soothing and calming effect during times of agitation and anxiety, and also helped to break down communication barriers between residents and staff. For other residents Doll Therapy was about the sense of role and responsibility, as Colleen found that “babysitting” Susie brought a lot of joy and happiness with residents demonstrating caring and maternal roles.
Doll therapy went as far as to stimulate reminiscence for Greenhaw Lodge resident Maureen, as spending time with Susie brought back memories of her own children and of being a parent.
Doll therapy at Greenhaw Lodge has not only been effective but has brought an abundance of joy and happiness for many of the residents and hopefully will continue to do so in the future.