Talking to a therapist is an effective form of therapy for older adults in the early to middle stages of dementia, known as talking therapy sessions. 5.8 million people in the U.S. suffer from a type of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, making it an incredibly common neurological disorder to have. Talking to a therapist to support dementia can be beneficial for not only your loved one with dementia but you as well.
Talking therapies are effective in supporting people with dementia, giving them a safe space to communicate their feelings and problems with an individual that can make sense of them and tackle them. Talking therapy sessions are conducted by mental health professionals, such as:
- Clinical psychologists
- Counseling psychologists
Nowadays, mental health professionals conduct talking therapy through other methods besides face-to-face sessions, including over the phone or on online platforms. Through various conversations, therapists and their patients figure out which approach to therapy is the most effective on a case-by-case basis. If the individual with dementia allows for it, a family member may even be able to accompany them for these sessions.
Counseling is an umbrella term that includes various categories of talking therapies: individual, group, and couples sessions. Counseling sessions are frequently used to aid people in coping with events that they struggle with. Hence, it’s helpful in cases such as a recent dementia diagnosis, which can be distressing for most due to the anxieties that it causes. Counseling can give your loved one with dementia the time, space, and resources to navigate their condition, and become more accepting of their diagnosis.
Psychotherapy is another range of talking therapies that treat multiple mental disorders, from dementia to eating disorders. The type of psychotherapy your loved one will be offered depends on which is most appropriate for them and will help them cope with their condition the best. Psychotherapists can help your loved one understand the way they think and behave, which can positively influence how they handle situations such as problems in daily life. Furthermore, psychotherapy can help your loved one feel less depressed and anxious regarding their struggle with dementia, making their life more
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, is a particular type of psychotherapy that is most suitable for patients in the earlier stages of dementia. This is because, at this stage, patients are still rather capable of communicating and reasoning, and have mostly intact memories. Due to this, the patient will still be able to effectively engage with their therapist and the therapy sessions. Due to certain needs that individuals with dementia have that have to be met, cognitive behavioral therapy sessions can be personalized in ways to make the sessions more engaging and conducive for your loved one, such as incorporating the use of memory aids or allowing a loved one to attend.