Alzheimer's disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60% to 80% of dementia cases. Roughly 200,000 or 1.6% of the US population under the age of 65 are at risk of Alzheimer's disease with most showing signs of dementia and memory loss. The first and most common symptom of this disease is short-term memory loss, especially when the patient tries to remember recent events. After a few years the disease progresses and with no viable cure the symptoms multiply and worsens and the patient may show signs of abnormal behavior, lack of self-care, loss of motivation, mood swings, disorientation (including easily getting lost) and language/speech impairment.
During the latter stages of the disease bodily functions slowly fades away which will lead to the patient’s inevitable death. Scientists are working hard day and night to develop a cure for Alzheimer's and some have already provided some very promising results that led them to believe that we may be headed for a breakthrough in Alzheimer's treatment! Until then it is best to give Alzheimer's patients the best of care, love, understanding, support from family and friends and most importantly counseling.
Where to Start in Getting Alzheimer's Counseling?
If you think that you’re experiencing short-term memory loss or you know someone, probably from your own family members, that show signs of dementia, then visit the doctor first and get diagnosed. If you or someone you know is indeed confirmed to have Alzheimer's disease, then sign up with us at MyWholeHealth.com and we will give you or your friend/family member an initial assessment and determine the following;
• What type of counseling/therapy is best for the patient
• Which location should they get the counseling at (i.e. residential treatment center, hospital, clinic or at the counselor’s office).
• The person(s) to be included in the treatment (e.g. will it be the patient alone, or will his/her family members be invited, or will he/she be in a group counseling).
• Frequency of the treatment (counseling/therapy).
• Duration of the counseling.
• Whether or not the patient will need medication.
Types of Counseling for Alzheimer Patients
There are six counseling programs that are recommended by health professionals for patients who are suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Depending on the treatment plan that the patient’s doctor has intended for him/her the counselor may utilize only one or a combination of the counseling methods listed below.
Crisis Intervention Counseling
People who find out that they have Alzheimer's disease do not always take it lightly and sometimes they breakdown. When that happens My Whole Health will immediately get a counselor to help you get through the crisis. He or she may recommend that you undergo further counseling or refer you to a specific medical facility for Alzheimer patients to get treatment and notify your family as well.
Individual counseling is completely private one on one discussion with your counselor where doctor-patient confidentiality is upheld with the most commitment. It is anticipated that the patient may be experiencing depression, anxiety, or grief in dealing with their newly diagnosed Alzheimer’s disease that’s why the counseling is done in private as you may feel not inclined to have anyone else present during your meetings with the therapist.
The immediate family of an Alzheimer patient are the best and most capable people to give counseling to them, because they do it with love and care more than a therapist ever could. This also relieves the stress placed on their finances as they don’t have to pay too much for medical care (especially on the counseling part) as they’ll be providing the therapy themselves. This also brings the family closer to each other and resolve any issues that they’ve had plus they can adapt and understand new means of communication with the patient and better understand his/her needs and provide it for them.
Group therapy is often recommended for patients who show early Alzheimer's symptoms and being in the presence of other people who are undergoing the same symptoms and adjustments in life helps make the burden of the disease more bearable. There are many Alzheimer's association and Alzheimer’s society that provide this kind of counseling/therapy and My Whole Health also has one where you can sign up and attend group therapy sessions if you’re suffering from Alzheimer’s too!
Long-Term, Residential Treatment
Here at My Whole Health we can also refer you to a long-term, residential treatment facility where you’ll receive medical treatment and care for your Alzheimer's disease.
Self-Help and Support Groups
Just like group therapy these self-help and support groups are the ones who created Alzheimer's association and Alzheimer’s society in various places in the US and elsewhere. However, unlike group therapy they meet regularly without a counselor or therapist and they just treat or encourage each other to have strength and the will to live by sharing their experiences. In fact, My Whole Health is somewhat similar to these kinds of groups and we can also facilitate group meetings without the supervision of any therapist.