Doll Therapy May Help Calm People With Dementia, But It Has Critics

Press/Media: Expert Comment


Expert comment on therapeutic use of dolls in dementia care.

Period03 Oct 2016

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleDoll Therapy May Help Calm People With Dementia, But It Has Critics
    Degree of recognitionInternational
    Media name/outletNPR (National Public Radio)
    Media typeRadio
    CountryUnited Kingdom
    DescriptionMedia Snippet: "Having the doll ... offers them an anchor or a sense of attachment in a time of uncertainty," says Gary Mitchell, a nurse specialist at Four Seasons Health Care facilities in Northern Ireland, and author of a new book: Doll Therapy in Dementia Care: Evidence and Practice.

    "A lot of people associate the doll with their younger days and having people to care for," Mitchell says.

    However, he acknowledges that doll therapy can perpetuate the stigma associated with dementia that care givers are trying to get away from.

    Some families worry about their relatives being laughed at when they engage in doll therapy, Mitchell says. He had the same concerns when he worked at a senior residential center. But when one resident requested that he allow her to continue caring for a doll, he saw the positive impact of the therapy. Mitchell says doll therapy should be used cautiously and more studies are needed.
    Producer/AuthorAnna Gorman
    PersonsGary Mitchell