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Dementia Interventions: To plush or not to plush?

Posted Nov 10 2008 4:46pm

Should you use stuffed or plush toys in your interventions with residents with dementia? You'll find much controversy among professionals on this one. Some researchers, such as Francis & Baly (1986) found that stuffed toys make a positive contribution to the psychological aspects of care for residents with dementia. On the opposite front, Bowlby (1993) suggests that caregivers should avoid creating a child-like environment by using items like stuffed toys. In more recent research, Libin & Cohen-Mansfield (2004) found that the levels of engagement of residents with dementia increased when they were introduced to both a plush toy cat and a robotic (non plush) cat. In my practice, have found that many of our residents have been tremendously comforted by interacting with lifelike baby dolls or stuffed toys. We made them available to them; they made the choice to engage. What have you found in your facility or at home?

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