One of the most innovative ways being used in senior living to reach patients who are locked in a world of dementia is cuddle therapy. There are no drugs or surgeries needed for this treatment method- just lifelike baby dolls. Cuddle therapy with these dolls have been proven to provide seniors with a plethora of benefits through natural means. Here are some of those benefits.
What is Cuddle Therapy?
Cuddle therapy is a type of holistic therapy to help with stress, anxiety, emotions, and more. A hug from a loved one, a caregiver, a pet, etc. can give someone safety, security, trust, and healing. When it comes to patients suffering from dementia, cuddle therapy holds many great benefits to help ease and soothe elderly dementia patients.
As you might remember from your childhood, there is something unquestionably soothing about interacting with your favorite dolls or action figures. That effect does not stop at childhood and is especially beneficial for older adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s. According to DailyCaring, “Similar to the effect of soft toys like stuffed animals, hugging something soft helps someone with dementia soothe themselves.” Older adults who respond well to cuddle therapy tend to make interacting with baby dolls a part of their daily routine in their senior communities that they eagerly look forward to for therapeutic relief.
Benefits of Cuddle Therapy
When hugging someone special, your body releases a hormone called oxytocin that calms you down and relieves feelings of stress.
In a hug or cuddle, the oxytocin that is released can also block pain signals.
Lowers blood pressure
Touch has a calming effect which may lower blood pressure. Hugging lowers both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
Helps communicate your emotions
Cuddle therapy can help communicate emotions like gratitude, love, happiness, sadness, and sometimes sympathy.
Spring Hills Memory Care
For memory care patients who may have either had children themselves or always wanted to be a parent, cuddle therapy is a great outlet. There is something so innately natural about nurturing for something that appeals to everyone, especially senior citizens. The Guardian notes that, “It brings back happy memories of parenthood and of being useful and needed.” Additionally, cuddle therapy allows seniors with dementia to enjoy things they used to enjoy as a child while doing those things with their baby doll.
At Spring Hills Senior Communities, we go above and beyond to stay ahead of the curve on emerging technologies and treatment methods being used in assisted living. That is why we not only offer cuddle therapy, but we have implemented simulated nursery attractions with everything an actual nursery would have including: diapers, changing tables, and cribs. Our Director of Program Development & Training, Rachel Helfand, discussed our approach to cuddle therapy in senior living by saying, “Cuddle therapy is one way we connect with residents and engage them with a sense of purpose. Our communities have life-like baby dolls and animals to interact with; and this meaningful activity enables residents to express their nurturing side. Residents that enjoy cuddle therapy often experience comfort, fulfillment and a sense of purpose in their environment.” To learn more about what we do, contact a community near you.