Caring for baby dolls lessens anxiety in nursing home residents

Published: Apr. 16, 2019 at 10:45 AM CDT
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PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - Researchers are finding new and creative ways to treat patients with Alzheimer's and dementia. Baby doll therapy helps treat anxiety, lessen wandering and provide patients with a sense of comfort and purpose.

Residents of Dixie White House nursing home in Pass Christian adopted babies of their own Monday during a baby shower.

“Taking care of children or small babies is instinctual and its something that isn’t lost in the dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” said Shannon Gooch with Palladium Hospice and Palliative Care. “So this is something that the patients or residents can gravitate towards and center on. Soothing the baby in turn soothes the resident or patient.”

Pet therapy has a similar effect on patients, but only while the pet is there. Because patients get to keep the dolls, it provides a more long-term therapeutic effect.

If you’re interested in introducing doll therapy to your senior, here are a few tips from Their experts say it’s best to casually introduce the doll to your senior and let them decide if they like it or not. Don’t act like the doll is a doll, refer to it as a baby and treat it like a real child. Get a lifelike doll, but one that doesn’t cry, which could be upsetting. And most importantly, if they have no interest in the doll, don’t make an issue out of it. They could change their minds in the future.

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