REDUCING ANXIETY: Richmond Lodge activities officer Helen Carbery advocates doll therapy for dementia patients.
REDUCING ANXIETY: Richmond Lodge activities officer Helen Carbery advocates doll therapy for dementia patients. Susanna Freymark

Dementia dolls help soothe Casino’s aged care residents

RICHMOND Lodge Aged Care activities officer Helen Carbery has seen first hand how playing with dolls can help dementia residents in Casino.

"Doll therapy gives those with dementia a purpose," Ms Carbery said.

"They name the doll and they can talk about it."

The benefits of doll therapy include the reduction of agitation, decrease of aggression and anxiety and creating reasons for socialisation, Ms Carbery said.

"We have a communal doll-baby and even the men get involved," she said.

It might sound like child's play but Ms Carbery is studying a degree in dementia care through an online course at the University of Tasmania.

Her main project was on doll therapy.

"We always get family permission to use the dolls," she said.

It improves their quality of life and ignites long term memories, Ms Carbery said.

The care facility has 12 residents in the secure wing of the lodge.

Ms Carbery is on the lookout for another old fashioned bassinet.

She has Elizabeth Willows making clothes for the dolls after she was given a pile of material.

It soothes the residents with dementia if they can focus on something else, like a doll, she said.

Ms Carbery has worked at the lodge for five years and loves her job in palliative care.

"We are like a family," she said.

"It's fulfilling to see the smiles on their faces. You've done something good for the day and made people happy."

It was a privilege to be part of their lives, she said.

The lodge runs a community visitors scheme where volunteers can visit a resident at a nursing home and read to them or talk about their interests.

Contact Flora Zigterman on 6621 7397 to find out how you can help and become a volunteer.



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