A diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease can often be frightening and upsetting for the person, the caregiver, as well as for friends and family. The person you care for may have many questions and fears about the disease and their future. They may need help coping as the disease progresses, affecting both their mental and physical state. In this situation, counselling can be a useful technique to help the person you care for to work through feelings of worry and stress. Often people will avoid counselling because they may feel ashamed or embarrassed about attending counselling. However, it is important to help the person you care for to recognize that counselling is an important component of an effective treatment plan.
Go to your doctor to discuss a referral to an expert in the field. This could be a family therapist, a social worker , a psychologist or a psychiatrist . This person will diagnose the problem; determine the best treatment; who will be included in the treatment; how often you should attend and how long counselling should last. Counselling does not necessarily have to be one-on-one. Family counselling and group therapy are other common and effective forms of counselling.
Many people think of counselling as providing no more than coping and management strategies. However, the benefits are in fact much more wide ranging. Counselling can provide a safe place to ask questions about the disease, particularly questions that the person you care for may be afraid to ask elsewhere. Becoming educated about the disease is an important step in learning to manage and accept the disease. One-on-one counselling allows the person you care for to ask questions and get answers about their disease that they are not comfortable expressing to those around them. Counselling sessions are confidential, meaning all conversations are private, allowing the person you care for to decide which information they care to share with their friends and family. The person you care for may attend counselling on a regular basis, such as once a week. This may allow the counsellor/therapist to notice changes in symptoms that may be missed by you or the person you care for. For example, many people just diagnosed with a major disease can face the possibility of becoming depressed. The counsellor/therapist generally can recognize the early signs of depression that may go unnoticed to you. Group counselling provides the person you care for with an opportunity to meet others in a similar situation to them. This offers them involvement in a social environment and makes them feel like they are not alone. Above all, counselling provides the person you care for a safe and calm environment, absent of stresses and distractions.