The use of dolls to improve the status of adults suffering from dementia such as Alzheimer's opens its way in Spain as an alternative to treatments based more on medication and is supported by indicators as alternative but at the same time as measurable as the increase in smiles outlined by the patients.
The psychologist specialist in dementia and cognitive accessibility Nuria Carcavilla travels the country to train caregivers and therapists in this technique, which has just been exhibited at the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Salamanca and has a long journey in countries such as the United States, Japan and Australia.
Changing the role of care for the caregiver can be a determining factor for a person suffering from dementia to have a better life and with less medication, he explained in a conversation with EFE Carcavilla, convinced by his experience that this technique emotionally stabilizes to these patients.
Although it is difficult to pose a scenario of care to people with dementia in the absence of pharmacological treatments, for this expert it is feasible to reduce them with other types of interventions that improve their quality of life and well-being.
As a development of the so-called "attachment theory", the use of dolls strengthens the sense of usefulness of these people and makes them see themselves as responsible for their evolution and that of those around them.
Applied individually or in groups, this therapy does not require special dolls or necessarily expensive, although it is preferable not to use those that include sound devices, which can distort the relationship with the patient, explained the expert.
"It is not a game", stressed Carcavilla, convinced that the attention to dementia, this technique or other, should be governed by the dignity of patients.
For this reason, it has rejected the idea of infantilizing this relationship because "they are not children", nor should they be treated as such, but this tool serves to unblock communication and bring out positive feelings, based fundamentally on love.
"One of the things that must be made clear, not to confuse, is that when using the doll we are not offering a game, but to stimulate and offer the opportunity for the person to maintain their capacities for more time, independence and have those covers covered. psychological needs we all have throughout life: receive love, feel included in an environment … ", the rapporteur has abounded.
The mechanism is similar to other therapies such as those based on animals, which allow feelings to arise and foster care, although there is also progress in research with technological derivatives, although in the latter case the specialist believes that it is more complicated for people with dementia in a moderate or advanced phase.
The reduction of stress levels and alteration is another of the positive effects of this technique, explained Carcavilla, who together with the theorists of this type of therapies attributes it to the kind of "fixation" that these people suffer when they "take less or resorting to their parents to find that security when they feel disorientation or do not know very well the environment in which they find themselves ".
About two hundred Spanish caregivers and therapists have been trained in this technique in the last year by Nuria Carcavilla, convinced that as they get to know each other by families and residential centers, it will become another health resource.
By Óscar R. Ventana