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Doll Therapy


Registered User
May 5, 2013
One of the carers has decided to bring a baby doll in for a particular resident. My mum worries about children all of the time and often says she has to get home to see to the children.

Since this doll has arrived, mum who is mobile and enjoys conversations with family and staff and is very sociable, keeps picking it up and talking to it like it is a real baby. That's all well and good but, when we visit (which is every day) and take her to the café she is constantly on about this "baby" that she's left and is clearly anxious. We have requested staff don't let mum have this doll as she is very worked up about it which isn't fair and we find it hard to convince her she doesn't need to worry.

Staff have said they can't just take it away but our understanding is that doll therapy is still controversial and should be discussed fully with families before being introduced. It may work for some people but at the same time should not cause distress to the person, which it is with mum. We have even spoken to management but they are ignoring our wishes. Can we insist this doll is not given to mum and is not left where mum can find it, i.e. sitting on the settee where mum always sits? I have noticed since the doll was taken in to the home, mum is not her usual perky self and keeps saying she doesn't know what to do and we can see she's worried. Staff probably won't notice this as they are busy but we do as we sit and chat with mum.

Any similar stories or views would be appreciated.



Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
South coast
My mum has not taken to doll therapy, but I have a friend whose mum has and looking after the "baby" gives her great pleasure.

If your mum has taken to this doll and is treating it as real then it sounds as though it is answering a need in your mum - otherwise she would just ignore it. If she gets upset when you take her out and she is worried about it (understandable if she thinks it is real) could you not just take it with you? You might get some funny looks, but who cares?


Registered User
Jan 28, 2011
It's difficult to know what's best isn't it?
My mum went through a phase of being frantic about "the kids" (and she didn't have a doll then) & would insist they were locked away / crying/hungry & nothing would persuade her everything was ok.

Later we tried her with a doll, "Betty" was a success for a while, used to come out with us tucked into mum's bag, but then mum seemed to lose interest as time went on.

Mum does have a toy dog that she's very attached too, she would feed him chocolate & tell us about taking him for walks, but even he is ignored a lot now.

I suppose it's a matter of trial & error, really. Not much help, sorry,

Good luck Lin x


Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
North Manchester
"...not her usual perky self and keeps saying she doesn't know what to do..."

may be because she does not have a 'baby' all the time to care for.

Have you considered getting your mum her own doll?


Registered User
May 5, 2013
It's interesting to see different views. Perhaps I should have said mum is able to have conversations with us and others. She enjoys talking and laughing with people and the last thing we want to happen is for her to lose interest in others because she has this doll. I understand they work for some especially those who can't communicate. Been today no sign of the doll and mum wasn't anxious and back to her happy chatty self with no mention of a baby. That's good enough for us so hopefully it doesn't return.

Thanks for your views.