Doll therapy aids dementia patients

Mercia de Lange and Marion Thomas enjoy doll therapy at Cosmos Gardens.


The residents of Cosmos at Waverley Gardens were treated to a sensory stimulation programme for Mother’s Day following the kind donation of eight dolls from the Flower Foundation.

Nursing services manager Sue Cunningham said, “Doll therapy is well recognised in the care of people with dementia. Contrary to some beliefs, it does not infantilise people as it allows for long term memories to surface and a warm, loving relationship to be re-established.”

Weighted, realistic looking dolls, especially with the happy baby sounds of laughter and the smell of talcum powder are used to good effect to calm people down and give them a sense of purpose.

Dementia or neurocognitive disorders as they are now known are on the increase with a diagnosis being made every three seconds worldwide. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia with some of the other types being vascular dementia, alcohol-related dementia, Lewy Body dementia, frontotemporal lobe dementia and Aids related dementia.

Cunningham added, “The increased burden on the health care services, financial implications and stress on those caring for people with dementia is worrying. Dementia is not a normal part of ageing. This is a disease process leading to a progressive deterioration of brain function for which there is no cure at present and does eventually lead to death.”

For further information or support please contact the Alzheimer’s Association Gauteng, 011 346 2757 or Matron Sue Cunningham at Cosmos, 011 887 9881.

Edited by Beryl Knipe

Read: Dementia sufferers are not witches, help them

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