Counseling Types For Managing Your Family Member’s Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is progressive dementia that affects a person’s memory and intellect. Moreover, this disease also affects behavior and psychological state. Medications and treatment help treat signs and symptoms of this illness. But counseling with a trusted therapist is also a growing option to help manage the condition.

Here are the different types of counseling your therapist may recommend in managing you or your family member’s Alzheimer disease:

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Individual Counseling

This type of counseling involves an individual, one-on-one arrangement with a therapist. There are moments when group counseling can be challenging to share. With that, this type can be an opportunity to present feelings and emotions in private.

Moreover, it facilitates discussion of personal issues that may result from Alzheimer’s disease. One-on-one sessions allow private discussion of sensitive topics like depression, anxiety, or grief. So if you opt for this type of therapy, pick a professional who you can trust the most with your problems.

Therapy For Family

Alzheimer’s disease may develop in only one family member. But its aggravation in various aspects such as finances, lifestyle, and communication may concern the entire family. 

Family counseling can help bridge the family’s needs to adapt to changes and fortify relationships. It can also assist in facilitating better communications with someone who has Alzheimer’s disease.

The therapist can help fix conflicts and learn new ways to create a safe environment for everyone in the family. Therapies usually last for more than one session. Because of that, it is best to find a counselor with whom your family can connect and feel at ease.

Couples Counseling 

Another type of counseling that involves family help is couple counseling. Alzheimer’s disease may also affect relationships between couples. This specific form of therapy can be of immense help.

A 2009 study has tallied that counseling couples with one member having an early-stage Alzheimer’s disease are ‘possible and worthwhile.’

They suggested that each dyad member should use an optimistic collaboration and a nonjudgmental approach. Moreover, they emphasize that with a non-blaming attitude, a relationship can stay constant and firm over time.

Couple therapies can benefit partners, but it offers more assistance to the member suffering from the illness. This therapy can help the person share his thoughts more freely. It also helps the patient adapt to mental changes through the help of his partner.

Group-Held Therapies

Group counseling is another option in managing Alzheimer’s disease. In group therapy, participants share and tell their problems with the help of a counselor.

By talking and hearing from other people with the same condition, it can bring comfort. The group can help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease confide with participants and generate hope to heal from its symptoms.

In group counseling, it is not a requirement that all members be suffering from a similar condition. Groups may include individuals who have tendencies of developing Alzheimer’s disease based on their family history. Through group counseling, they learn preventive measures early on.

This platform will also allow other people who do not have Alzheimer’s disease to share their support and compassion with the patients. 

Self-Help Support Groups

Unlike group therapy, self-help and support groups require that everyone participating have the same condition. For people with Alzheimer’s disease, this can be a platform for understanding their needs from other patients.

Attending these facilitated discussions may also help others apply and learn coping mechanisms. These learnings can help combat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Self-help support groups usually take place on regular schedules. Either mental health professionals (therapists or psychologists) or advocates facilitate it.

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Crisis-Intervention Counseling

Alzheimer’s disease may include symptoms like depressive or distressed mood, impaired thinking, and suicidal tendencies. If you or a family member could be experiencing these warning signs, contact your attending physician immediately. You may also call 911 if there are episodes when symptoms are difficult to manage or ease.

Psychotherapy and CBT

Talk therapies offer promising help to people with early to middle stages of the condition. The therapist will usually refer you to a type of talk therapy that suits your preferences and choices. The different talk therapies that can help include psychotherapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Psychotherapy is a set of talk therapies. It aims to help patients understand how their personal beliefs and experiences may affect their internal thoughts and overall feelings. It helps align their thought patterns and behavior coherently to have better coping mechanisms under challenging situations.

People with Alzheimer’s disease may benefit from reframing their mental states. Through this, they may veer away from depression and anxiety tendencies.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) meanwhile is also beneficial for people with Alzheimer’s disease. This process engages patients to use their cognition to alter their behavior.  This process engages patients in using their cognition to change their behavior. Professionals usually gather information about you first before treatment. 

Once done, the doctor will instruct you to be aware of your present thoughts. They will suggest using reframing techniques to correct your ailing thought patterns.

CBT for patients with Alzheimer’s disease may require modification in session length. Moreover, therapists may ask family members to assist and participate in the therapy sessions.

Residential Treatment

Living in a recovery facility will also help you get counseling. Counseling done through this is usually long-term and may have a year or weekly duration.

Activities here include daily counseling and regular group therapy. In these situations, professionals let you focus on your problem and personal healing outside the pressure of your work, business, or family. Patients will also need to attend more counseling after having a course in residential treatment.

Conclusion

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The benefits of counseling to patients include better mental and emotional well-being and increased management of symptoms. At the same time, families of these clients may also learn a lot about managing conflicts, coping strategies, and better understanding when they get involved in counseling sessions.

Having the best therapist to work with you and your preferences will be a big help throughout your treatment. Only make appointments with counselors who have sufficient education, client respect, and patient compassion.

Refrain from staying with a counselor that does not promote wellness. Also, watch out for therapists whose techniques are not effective in the long run.

Aside from therapists, you may also ask for help from social workers or geriatric psychiatrists. These professionals can also assist in managing Alzheimer’s disease.

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