There are various forms of dementia support that patients and their families can utilize during the course of treatment. For medical support, the patient’s doctor or specialist is an excellent resource. Sometimes patients may also wish to see a therapist to discuss the feelings of helplessness, anger, and sadness they may feel at losing cognitive function. Family members may also find comfort by attending therapy to help deal with the concept of losing a loved one and watching him or her slowly lose memories and the ability to care for him or herself. Both parties may also find it helpful to discuss their feelings with others who are going through similar situations in a support group, either in person or through an online forum.
A general practitioner or specialist may each offer dementia support for patients by helping them go over potential treatment options, giving them medications which may help with dementia-related symptoms, and referring them to other specialists for further treatments. These doctors are also familiar with local therapists and may refer patients to them so that they can discuss their feelings about their diagnosis.
The patient’s friends and family members may also offer dementia support, first by providing emotional support, and then by taking over their care when the patient’s cognitive function has become severely impaired as the disease progresses. Families often take over such tasks as giving medications, bathing, feeding, and transporting patients. They also watch over them to ensure they do not leave home without guidance or cause harm to themselves.
Both patients and their families can benefit from attending therapy for dementia support. Many patients become severely depressed and may need help talking about issues like losing memory and the ability to care for themselves, being a burden on family members, and death. Families are often saddened and anxiety-ridden about the condition as well.
Joining support groups may also be a good format to gain dementia support for both patients and their families. This can take place in person or via online forum. Most groups are free or low-cost to join, and some may be headed by a trained counselor.
The purpose of a support group is to allow patients and their families to discuss their feelings and experiences openly with others who understand what they are experiencing. This can help ward off the loneliness and hopelessness that often accompanies a dementia diagnosis.