There is a Japanese research to find out the benefits of stuffed animals for people with severe dementia, the Huffington Post reports. For the purpose of the study the specialists were using a stuffed gorilla, a stuffed tiger and a stuffed dog. They were giving the toys to patients and examining the reactions of the people.
Most of the patients showed interest for the toys and they looked much happier and less agitated, the study says. Patients became more accustomed to the toys with each day and the stuffed dog was by far the most favorite toy.
As a whole specialists are saying there are number of benefits when providing patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia with stuffed animals. Amongst them stuffed animals can distract and calm down a person who is upset. They can increase happines and provide comfort.
Stuffies are also often hugged and provide a focal point for interaction with loved ones (easier to play with). The toys often remind the people about a beloved pet they had and give the person nuturing feelings of caring for another.
This also serves as a good way to provide patients with something to do and someone to take care for without the risk of an accident. A real pet would need real and close care, which people with Alzheimer’s can’t provide. But they can feel like they are providing it to a stuffed animal, which will help them feel much better. Plus the toys can be with the patients all the time while the pets can’t. And there can be more than one if needed as some patients really do like to have more stuffies around them.
Scientists say stuffed animals are often chosen above dolls. The reason for that is that most men don’t want to play with a doll and a stuffed animal would be preffed.
The specialists don’t agree with the objection that giving patients stuffed animals is demeaning. If the person likes the toy and feels good with and around it, then it should strongly be considered.
But this is what scientists are saying. Is there any real world use of stuffed animals with Alzheimer’s patients? Yes, there is.
Author Marie Marley has had a close to her person with Alzheimer’s and she has discovered on her own that stuffed animals really do help. “One day on a whim and against my better judgment I brought him a little stuffed animal. Much to my surprise he loved it. We started playing simple games with it. It was fun. It was like a mother playing with her little 2-year-old. So I took him more animals and he loved each one more than the one before. After a few weeks of this I realized that my heart had changed forever. I had finally found a way to relate to him — one that was truly satisfying for both of us” says Marley.
Bob DeMacro, founder of the Alzheimer’s Reading Room, also knows that stuffed animals can help with Alzheimer’s. He have an interactive stuffie to his mother. Harvey is a bird who flaps his wings and repeats what you have said to him. Harvey quickly became Bob’s mother best friend. She even told Harvey things she didn’t tell her son, for example that she has a headache, which helped him take better care of her.
So there you have it. It is definately worth to try and see whether a patient with Alzheimer’s or dementia will respond well to a stuffed animal. If they do, this can bring many benefits.