A diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease will affect your body, mind, and emotions. It will have a big impact on your life and your family. But you don’t have to handle it alone. Counseling and support groups can be great outlets if you feel you need help dealing with fear, anger, or stress.
The decision to seek counseling is an important step. Too often, people don't get help because they feel ashamed or guilty. But when you get assistance, you make the choice to feel better and improve your life. A trained mental health care provider can help you choose the right therapy that meets your needs.
Rosemary Orange, 53, of Ottawa, Ontario, suspected something was wrong with her 83-year-old mother, Sylvia. "She'd go shopping and forget what she was doing," Orange says. "So she'd come right back home without buying anything."
Several months later, Orange's mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, a type of dementia that affects nearly 36 million people worldwide. That rate is expected to nearly double in the next 20 years, according to the World Health Organization.
What can you do if a parent...
Ask the doctor treating your Alzheimer's to refer you to a few mental health professionals. They might include family therapists, social workers, psychologists, or psychiatrists.
When you have your first visit with the counselor you choose, she’ll ask you why you want counseling, what symptoms you have (emotional, mental, and physical), and your medical history. You might get a survey to fill out with these questions.
Your answers will give the counselor a better idea of the best way to help you. You can discuss:
The best type of counseling for you
The best place to have it (counselor's office, outpatient clinic, hospital, residential treatment center)
Who will join in your treatment (you alone, your family members, other people who are living with a condition like Alzheimer’s)