There has been little formal investigation into the effects that dolls can have on people who have Alzheimer's disease, but talk to caregivers who have participated in doll therapy for dementia and most of them will probably speak positively about the experience.
Dolls have been shown repeatedly to soothe and comfort people with Alzheimer's. Although it can be discomforting to see an adult hold a doll, we need to acknowledge the benefit that doll therapy can provide. The results of studies provide support for the hypotheses that after the introduction of dolls (or bears), users showed an increase in positive behaviour and a decrease in negative behaviour/ incidents of aggression compared with before the dolls/bears were introduced.
These results support previous attitudinal studies, which have reported doll therapy to be an effective approach in reducing negative and challenging behaviours, and promoting more positive behaviours and mood.