Dementia is a disease that affects the brain and causes problems with memory, thinking, behavior, and the ability to carry out daily activities. It’s most common in older people but can develop at any age.
If you have a loved one who has dementia and you’re considering therapy, it can be helpful to know how effective it is for people with this condition.
In this article, we’ll look at whether talking about your feelings helps or not and what the benefits of seeing a therapist for dementia. We’ll also discuss how therapy can help manage symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and aggression – all of which may be experienced by someone living with dementia.
How Do Talking Therapies Work?
Talking therapies help people cope with stress, process emotions, identify and change negative thinking patterns, understand their thoughts and feelings, and manage their behavior.
Talking therapies can take many forms, including one-to-one therapy (sometimes called counseling), group conversations, or social activities focused on specific topics related to mental well-being, such as relaxation techniques or goal setting.
There Are Different Types Of Therapy Models Available
The different therapy models are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, and person-centered therapy.
CBT is based on the idea that thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected. It aims to change negative thoughts that may be causing distress by helping you explore how your mind works with your emotions and behavior.
Psychodynamic therapy looks at how unconscious forces influence our actions by looking into past experiences to gain insight into how they affect how you feel about yourself today. The aim is to help you resolve issues from the past so that you can accept yourself more fully in the present day.
Person-centered therapy focuses on each individual’s unique needs, wants, and preferences rather than trying to apply a size fit approach when treating someone’s mental health condition or diagnosis.
Benefits Of Talking Therapies For People With Dementia
The benefits of talking therapies include:
- Improved quality of life for you and your loved one. Talking to a therapist can help you deal with the stress and anxiety of living with someone with dementia, improving your overall mental health. If your loved one wants to talk about what they’re experiencing, you must listen without judgment or criticism.
- Reduced risk of depression and anxiety. Dementia is often associated with feelings of isolation, meaning that people may feel as though their situation is hopeless because there’s no way out or improvement possible in the future. A therapist will help them understand their diagnosis better so they know what’s coming next instead of feeling blindsided by changes.
- Maintaining independence longer than expected (older adults often live longer than predicted after diagnosis). Feeling like they have more control over their lives because they’re able to make decisions based on knowledge rather than speculation.
Finding The Right Therapist Is Important
Finding the right therapist is important. A good fit will help your loved one feel comfortable and safe, which is crucial for making progress. Here are some things to think about when looking for a therapist:
- Is the therapist familiar with dementia? You can ask them about their experience working with people living with dementia, and if they don’t have any experience, look elsewhere.
- Is the therapist comfortable with your loved one’s condition? A therapist who isn’t used to dealing with loud noise or confusion may not be able to work well in an environment where either of those things is present on a regular basis.
- Is the therapist comfortable with you and your family members? This might sound silly because it should go without saying, but sometimes there’s an awkwardness around a new person that can make someone uncomfortable—or even make them leave therapy altogether! So make sure whoever you choose understands how hard this process will be for everyone involved before they accept this job offer.
While we can’t be sure how effective talking therapies are for people with dementia, much evidence supports their benefits. For example, CBT has been shown to improve the quality of life for people with depression and anxiety. Even if you aren’t convinced by the research, speaking to someone about your concerns can help you feel more relaxed and take control over what is happening in your life.