Speech Therapy for Dementia Treatment

Speech Therapy for dementia treatment

Individuals with dementia or their carers should consider speech therapy for dementia when an individual with the progressive illness has communication problems. Dementia is a progressive disease that can cause a person with the illness to experience various communication difficulties such as:

  • Inability to find the proper words to use
  • Using substitute for words
  • Not using words at all
  • Going back to the first language that a person learned as a child
  • Using words without any meaning
  • Difficulties following conversations, etc.

The illness can also cause drinking, eating, and swallowing challenges.

Learning how to communicate with others effectively is important for persons living with dementia.

With the onset of dementia, it is common for speech-related issues to progress. It is important to note that speech therapy is not only used to treat lost language function and speech, but it also enhances memory loss deficits and multiple cognitive functions. This is why individuals with dementia seek speech therapy to improve their current functions.

Speech and language pathologists have the skills and knowledge to assess and manage the issues effectively.

Before digging deeper into how speech therapy can help persons with dementia, let’s first discuss what speech therapy is.

What is Speech Therapy?

speech therapy for dementia

Speech therapy can be described as an intervention service that focuses on improving verbal and non-verbal language. It can also be defined as the assessment as well as treatment of speech disorders and communication problems. This is performed by speech-language pathologists who are also known as speech therapists.

The professionals mostly focus on 2 areas of treatment and these are:

  1. Addressing fluency, articulation, and voice-volume recognition via mouth coordination.
  2. How to express and use language through various alternative and traditional communication forms like body, written, social media, sign, and computer, etc.

With this in mind, let’s jump into how speech therapy helps persons with dementia.

How Individuals with Dementia Benefit from Speech Therapy

how do individuals with dementia benefit from speech therapy

Speech pathologists can help individuals with dementia through all the stages of the illness. Some of the ways speech therapy for dementia can help persons with the progressive illness and these include:

Maintains level of independence

Speech therapy can help people maintain their level of independence for a longer time. It helps to stimulate cognitive ability through various activities that relate to the underlying cognitive domain.

Learn how to modify the environment

Persons working with speech pathologists learn how to modify their environment and compensate for their deficits. This is vital because it helps affected individuals adapt well to the changes that are brought about by dementia.

Management strategies

Speech pathologists can also help access how people drink, eat, or swallow. The professionals offer management strategies for mealtimes if they notice any dysfunction.

The language-speech pathologists also gauge the person’s capacity to consent to care and treatment.

Caretakers can rely on the experts to communicate relevant details to the person who has the illness. This ensures that the affected persons can process the information in the best possible way.

What Does Speech Therapy for Dementia Involve?

what does speech therapy involve

When it comes to speech therapy for dementia, professionals come up with personalized speech and language therapy programs that will take into consideration the severity of the illness. A program may involve assessments, reviews, reports, education, advice, and support programs.

When dealing with a person who has speech issues, speech therapists may indulge them in various exercises like repeating words, naming pictures, and teaching techniques that strengthen the mouth’s muscles.

Speech and language pathologists may also guide an individual through workouts that train the muscles a person uses for swallowing. This helps improve an individual’s ability to swallow while reducing the risk of food going through the windpipe into the lungs. In the event where swallowing is extremely challenging, the pathologists may suggest alternative feeding methods like feeding tubes.

Support for Caregivers

support for dementia caregivers

When talking about speech therapy for dementia, expert speech and language therapists also beneficial support for caregivers. This helps to maximize effective communication, skills, knowledge, and quality of life. It also minimizes anxiety and stress. Enhanced communication has an impact on:

  • Peer relationships
  • Selfcare
  • Social skills
  • Behavior

Keep in mind that early intervention is usually best. Persons with dementia or their carers should consult speech or language pathologists as soon as possible to enjoy all the benefits that come with working with the experts.

9 Best Therapy Dolls Reviewed 2023

Best Therapy Dolls Reviewed

We are presenting a selection of the best therapy dolls reviewed here for our viewers- to assist people with selecting the perfect doll for their loved one with dementia.

We have also provided a comprehensive guide to buying and utilizing a therapy doll.

The newborn comfort dolls we have chosen were specifically selected for adults with memory loss.

Before you consider the products we have reviewed, you may be interested in reading our article on the Pros and Cons of therapy dolls. Here we outline the benefits and risks.

9 Best Therapy Dolls Reviewed

DollAverage Customer RatingFeaturesPrice
Newborn Comfort DollsBaby Doll Therapy New Born 4.5 STARSDesigned for dementia
Fast shipping
High quality
Easy to wash clothes
Someone to Love DollSomeone to Love Dolls5.0 STARS
(3 reviews)
Quality doll
Quality clothing
Warm face
9 dolls to select from
Easy ordering
Prompt shipping
Comfort Companion Therapy Doll HollyComfort Companion Therapy Doll Holly5.0 STARs
(2 reviews)
Colorful (sensory)
Textured (sensory)
Weighted body
Soft to cuddle
Ashton Therapy DollAshton - Drake Therapy Doll4.4 STARSDesigned for Alzheimer’s
Donates to charity
Scented (sensory)
Vinyl & cotton
Baby Boy DougBaby Boy Doug Doll Therapy4.5 STARSEasy cleaning
Low price
All vinyl
Charex Sleeping NewbornCHAREX Reborn Sleeping Baby DollsCHAREX Reborn Sleeping Baby Dolls4.3 STARS
Details- wrinkles/features
5 piece ensemble
Magnetic pacifier
Boy/girl choice
Low price
Vinyl & silicone
JIZHI DollJIZHI Lifelike Reborn Baby Dolls4.4 STARSConforms to safety
Detail (wrinkles etc)
Value for price
Vinyl & cotton
Zero Pam Baby Reborn DollZero Pam Reborn Baby Dolls4.1 STARSLifelike
Fits newborn clothes
Chubby face
6 accessories
Feels lifelike
Detail - wrinkles etc
Easy to clean
Has boy/girl parts
Silicone & cloth
Kandora Baby DollKaydora Reborn Baby Doll4.5 STARSLifelike
Detail- wrinkles/fingernails
Durable & sturdy
Value for price
Male/female dolls
Silicone & cotton


Scroll Down, below ‘Buyer’s Guide’, for full review on selected therapy dolls


Ultimate Guide to Buying a Therapy Doll

Therapy dolls have an incredible effect on people in the middle and later stages of Alzheimer’s. They are calming, soothing and gives people a sense of responsibility.

Alzheimer’s doll therapy brings dementia patients back to a time in their life when they cared for a young family. Rather than having someone caring for them, dementia patients can do the caring- giving carers an opportunity to relax.

The simple act of cuddling a doll can help re-establish nurturing feelings, express emotions, provide a sense of purpose, and bring joy and comfort.

Expertly crafted therapy dolls can look and feel very lifelike.

A quality doll will have the following features:

  • Best Therapy Dolls ReviewedSturdy and durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Attention to detail
  • Made from safe materials that look and feel like a real baby
  • Weighted body and head (reality)
  • Realistic hair
  • Body parts that can move
  • Life sized
  • Well-made clothing
  • Appropriately clothed
  • Silicone material over vinyl

ReaDementia identified 3 excellent therapy dolls available at the Alzheimer’s Store to review as well as some of the better doll products from the Amazon Store.

In our view, the far better products were the better quality dolls specifically designed for adult people with Alzheimer’s disease, rather than regular dolls designed and made primarily for children.

In the end the choice you make will be based on what doll best suit your family member with dementia and what your budget allows. Some of the less expensive dolls do offer value for money.

Positive outcomes of doll therapy for dementia patients:

  • Offer an opportunity to give care rather than receive it
  • Giving and receiving of unconditional love
  • Reach the patient and establish a connection
  • Opportunity for structured reminiscence sessions
  • Planned opportunities for meaningful interactions with the environment
  • A tool to help alleviate changing behaviours which may include anxiety, agitation, or low mood
  • To engage in an activity which reminds them of their past roles

Considerations when selecting a therapy doll

In choosing the most appropriate doll, try to select the most lifelike one that fits your budget.

As a rule, dolls with soft bodies, but hard hands, feet and heads provide a more realistic ‘feel’ than those which are solid plastic or vinyl throughout. Dolls made with silicone do offer this feel.

Select dolls that reflect a realistic size and weight for a real baby.

Ensure that the therapy doll is appropriately clothed. Inappropriate dress shows little respect for the reality of the dementia patient.

Be aware of culturally specific practices in relation to childcare. Seek a doll that reflects the culture of the patient.

Introducing a Therapy Doll

Carry the doll into the room respectfully as if the doll were a real baby. This gives the dementia patient the chance to choose between reality and fantasy.

Do not coerce the dementia patient to hold the doll but wait for them to notice and acknowledge it. Invite them to hold the doll if they show interest

Observe the dementia patient to see Let if they enjoy interacting with a therapy doll. Watch to see if they smile and use loving tones.

If the patient questions if the doll is real, offer a response such as “it’s whatever you want it to be”.

Allow them to discover for themselves if the doll is real.

If the patient recognizes the therapy doll as a doll, don’t deny it. Rather, explore how lifelike it is and use it as an alternative form of looking back in their lives at experiences with babies.

Regardless of whether the patient considers the therapy doll as real or not, it is still important that the doll is always treated with dignity and respect. This also applies to when the doll is being stored. It isn’t a good thing for a patient to discover their doll tossed in some box or left on a table. This may trigger them as they may perceive that the doll is in danger.

Observe the dementia patient’s reaction and intervene if you feel they are made uncomfortable or become agitated by. Gently taking the doll and sitting with it yourself whilst continuing the conversation, may be enough to relieve anxious feelings. Then gradually reintroduce the doll.


Best Therapy Doll Reviews

Baby Doll Therapy New Born Comfort

Newborn Comfort Dolls Baby Doll New Born Comfort is a professionally designed therapy doll for adults with dementia. It is realistically proportioned and weighted to provide a realistic experience for the patient.

This product is available from the Alzheimer’s Store. They offer five different dolls, each with variances with gender, ethnicity, and characters. Attention to detail has been applied to the dolls.

The 19” dolls are appropriately clothed with quality easy to wash clothes. Further ‘newborn’ clothes can be bought for the dolls.

Having moulded heads and wispy hair, these therapy dolls are very realistic.

Rated 4.5 Stars by customers (not many ratings given) and almost all positive feedback from customers, suggesting that people have been very happy with the product.

The Alzheimer’s Store based in USA offer fast shipping. Be careful if ordering internationally, as the cost of postage is high.

  • Designed for adults with memory loss
  • Very lifelike
  • Fast shipping
  • High quality
  • Easy to wash clothes
  • Pricey
  • International shipping cost

AlzStore ReaDementia




Someone to Love Dolls

Someone to Love Doll Someone to Love Dolls are professionally designed specifically for adults with dementia. This product is similar to the above product in that it is a quality product with attention to detail. A realistic 17” long and heavy weighted (3lbs) to resemble a real baby. The dolls clothing is well made and additional newborn clothes can be bought and will fit the doll.

We like that the dolls have a warm welcoming realistic face and that there are nine different dolls to select from covering baby boys and girls as well as different cultures/races.

So far customers have given the product a 5 Star rating, however, there have only been a few reviews. This appears to be a new product line.

The Someone to Love Dolls are in the upper price range, however, at the time of writing this review they were being offered with a good discount by the AlzStore.

The AlzStore, based in USA, are fast with processing and with dispatching orders, however, if you are an international buyer, there will be a hefty postage.

  • Lifelike
  • Quality construction
  • Dolls clothing well made with detail
  • Warm welcoming face
  • 9 different dolls to select from
  • On sale when writing review
  • Very happy customer reviews
  • Easy ordering and prompt shipping
  • International shipping costs high
  • Arms could be a little thicker

AlzStore ReaDementia




Comfort Companion Therapy Doll Holly


Comfort Companion Therapy Doll HollyComfort Companion Therapy Doll Holly, a soft fabric doll supplied by the AlzStore has been designed for adult dementia patients.

The doll is easy to care for as it can be washed and dried and has been well sewn together. We like that it has a large front pocket on the outfit it wears. Memorabilia can be placed in this pocket for the patient to play with.

The doll is 25” X 12”, with a body that is both weighted and textured with different brightly colored materials gives patients, not only a doll, but something they can manipulate, touch and be excited by the colors.

The Comfort Companion Doll Therapy is a soft and cuddly affordable product, sure to delight people with dementia. This doll is obviously not meant to be lifelike as it is a cloth doll, however, it is perfect for stimulating the senses offering a pleasant experience to dementia patients.

  • Easy to wash and care
  • Colorful (sensory)
  • Different textures (sensory)
  • Weighted body
  • Affordable
  • Soft to cuddle
  • Not realistic

AlzStore ReaDementia




The Ashton – Drake Therapy Doll

Ashton Therapy Doll The Ashton Drake Therapy Doll is an Amazon product designed for children (6+ years) as well as adults with Alzheimer’s disease. We selected this product as a low-cost option for our viewers.

The hands, feet and head of the doll are made of vinyl. The body is a cotton cloth. Although the doll looks very lifelike, it lacks the soft skin feature of other dolls due to the vinyl.

The 18” doll has the body and head weighted, helping with it being more lifelike. To help stimulate the patient’s senses there has been a powdered scent added.

The Ashton Therapy Doll is probably more a collectable than a toy. The eyes are fixed open and the company only offers one choice of doll.

We like that the company selling the product gives a small portion of each sale to research into Alzheimer’s. This therapy doll is a lower cost product with a 4.4 Star rating from 53 reviewers, with many very happy purchacers.

  • Designed for adult’s with Alzheimer’s
  • Portion of sales go to Alzheimer’s research
  • Weighted body and head
  • Powder scent (sensory)
  • lifelike
  • Not a toy, rather a collectable
  • Eyes don’t close
  • Plastic head, arms and feet are not so lifelike
  • Not as well made as other products
  • One choice of doll
  • Availability
Buy on Amazon


Baby Boy Doug – Doll Therapy

Baby Boy Doug Baby Boy Doug is an Amazon product from the Memorable Pets brand, specifically designed for people with dementia. It is a little smaller than other dolls, at 15”. The entire doll is made from quality vinyl.

Being all vinyl, it is easy to wash and clean and patients can take it into the bath or shower. The downside to vinyl, is that the doll won’t feel as soft as dolls made from materials such as silicone. This makes them less lifelike.

The product is lower in cost offering value for those on a budget. Accessories can be bought separately, such as pacifiers and bottle that can be used with the doll.

Customers from 9 reviews have rated the product 4.5 Stars. The company doesn’t offer a selection of dolls to choose from.

  • Easy cleaning
  • Low price- value for price
  • Can buy toy bottles and pacifiers to fit doll
  • Can be taken in the bath/shower
  • One choice of doll
  • Body not soft and realistic
Buy on Amazon


CHAREX Sleeping Reborn Baby Dolls

Charex Sleeping NewbornThe Charex Sleeping Reborn Baby Doll is an Amazon product made more for children, but can certainly be utilized as a therapy doll.

The company offers a boy as well as a girl doll. The doll is a realistic newborn size of 22” and the body has been weighted.

Made from soft vinyl and silicone, with attention to detail to hands and feet (wrinkles and color), the Charex doll has a relatively lifelike look and feel.

Rated 4.3 Stars by 53 reviewers, the doll is popular. The product quality is not high standard, but the price is reflected in this. The doll’s clothing also lesser quality, however, you can buy better quality newborn clothing that will fit this doll.

A 5 piece ensemble of accessories comes with this doll, including a magnetic pacifier that won’t fall out when given to the doll.

  • Lifelike
  • Detail in the wrinkles/features on hands and feet
  • Comes with 5 piece ensemble
  • Magnetic pacifier wont fall out
  • Weighted
  • Choice of boy or girl
  • Low price
  • Designed for children, not dementia patients
  • Not realistic
  • Poorer quality to other dolls
  • Clothing not well made (but can buy newborn clothing to fit)
  • Eyes are fixed (don’t open and close)
Buy on Amazon


JIZHI Lifelike Reborn Baby Dolls

JIZHI Doll The JIZHI Lifelike Reborn Baby Doll has a soft cloth body 17” long. Another Amazon product offering value for the low price. At the time of writing the review it was being advertised with a discount.

The doll’s limbs and head are made from vinyl with a cotton filled body. The designers have given attention to detail with wrinkles on fingers and toes offering a lifelike doll.

The doll conforms to safety requirements with nontoxic materials and non-choking parts suitable for toddlers through to adults.

A range of accessories come with the doll and additional newborn clothing can be bought to fit the doll.

Although limbs and head appear lifelike, the puffy body looks ‘stuffed’ and proportions are out.

The JIZHI Baby Doll is not specifically designed with dementia patients in mind. Although only one choice of product is available to purchase, it is a popular choice with a 4.4 Star rating by 434 reviewers. Many people comment on the product being a good buy for the cost.

  • Conforms to safety requirements
  • Lifelike
  • Skin shows detail (wrinkles etc)
  • Value for price
  • Toy accessories
  • Not weighted
  • Body proportions a little out
  • Not offering a range of dolls to select from
  • Not specifically designed for Dementia patients
Buy on Amazon


Zero Pam Reborn Baby Dolls

Zero Pam Baby Reborn DollWe selected the Zero Pam Reborn Baby Doll (Brand: Binxing Toys) to review as it is a full body silicone weighted (3lb) doll offering a more realistic feel for dementia patients. Being silicone the doll can get wet and be taken in the bath or shower, and it is easy to clean.

The non-toxic 18” doll available from Amazon stores is dressed in beautiful outfits. Additional newborn clothing can be bought that will fit the doll.

Having a chubby face, detail such as wrinkles on the toes and fingers, and all the ‘boy’ parts, this doll is very lifelike, feeling and looking like a real baby.

6 accessories come with the product and additional newborn outfits can be bought and will fit this doll.

Detracting aspects of the product were the limited movement of arms and legs (up and down only) and that people who bought the doll commented that the doll wasn’t as robust as other dolls.

The company, who designed this doll more for children than dementia patients, only offer one choice of doll.

Customer reviews give it 4.1Stars from 166 reviewers. Most people were happy with the product. Some mention that the doll feels more ‘vinyl’ than silicone and that the hair wasn’t so realistic.

The Zero Pam Doll is reasonably priced (at the time of this review it was on sale with a significant discount) offering good value.

  • Lifelike
  • Non-toxic
  • Fits newborn clothes
  • Realistic chubby face
  • Comes with 6 accessories
  • Doll feels like a real baby
  • Detail in hands and feet (wrinkles etc)
  • Easy to wash and clean
  • Has boy parts (and girl parts for female version)
  • Bathable
  • Limited movement of arms and legs (up and down only)
  • Not as robust as other dolls
  • Not specifically designed for dementia patients
  • Reviews indicate more of a vinyl feel rather than silicone
  • Hair not so realistic
Buy on Amazon


Kaydora Reborn Baby Doll

Kandora Baby DollOur final doll we have selected is the Kaydora Reborn Baby Doll. It is a realistic 22’ long, lifelike sleeping doll sold in Amazon stores for a price at the lower end.

The doll, not specifically designed for dementia patients (a child’s toy) has head and limbs made from silicone and a cotton filled body. The doll has been made to be durable.

Being weighted (3.16lbs) with attention to detail (wrinkles and fingernails), this cute looking baby doll is lifelike to touch and appearance.

Rated 4.5 stars by 968 people, the Kaydora Doll is a popular choice with many positive comments by reviewers. Negative aspects mentioned include: the hair is not well put together, the eyes are fixed open, and the body is over-stuffed- giving it a distorted appearance.

The company offers only one choice of product and it comes with a selection of accessories.

  • Lifelike
  • Attention to detail (even fingernails)
  • Accessories included
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Weighted
  • Good value for price
  • Male and female dolls available
  • Can’t be taken into bath
  • Fixed eyes
  • Not specific to dementia patients
  • Some reviews say hair not good
  • Some reviews say over stuffed distorting body
Buy on Amazon



Follow by Email