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Overview

Since there are no effective medical treatments currently available for Alzheimer’s, therapists often employ various cognitive interventions in order to help prevent and delay the disease’s progression. These interventions can be especially useful when Alzheimer’s is diagnosed in its early stages. Group therapy is one such intervention that helps provide engagement, reduces the sense of isolation and loneliness, enhances self-esteem and creates a routine.
Group therapy sessions often happen in small groups facilitated by one or two facilitators, usually therapists. Usually, the group therapy sessions start by the members introducing themselves, after which they are involved in either discussions or group activities that focus on stimulating thinking, memory and concentration. The modules of the group sessions are designed in a way that it accommodates the interest areas and cognitive levels of the group members.
The sessions usually last for about one to two hours. The facilitator moderates the flow of the discussions and encourages group members to participate in the activities, and actively share their views, feelings or experiences with other group members.
EXPERT TALKS

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How effective is Group Therapy for Alzheimer’s?

Group therapy is very effective for patients with Alzheimer’s in training their thinking, memory and concentration, and providing them with a feeling of self-efficacy and independence in managing the symptoms of their disease and day-to-day tasks. For caregivers, it is effective in helping them reduce their feelings of burden, enhancing their emotional well-being, as well as their ability to provide better care for the patient.

What are the benefits of Group Therapy for Alzheimer’s?

Group therapy can have numerous positive benefits for a patient with Alzheimer’s as it provides a supportive and non-judgemental environment, provides psycho-education about the disease and ways to manage the symptoms to promote independence, allows for a space where patients can connect with each other, reduces negative thinking and isolation, enhances self-esteem, and provides an opportunity to support and reach out to other members of the group.
For caregivers, group therapy can enhance their ability to engage in self-care and take care of their own mental and emotional well-being, which reduces their feelings of burden, enhances their quality of life as well as their ability to provide care for their loved one.

How many numbers of sessions are required?

The number of sessions can either be pre-determined according to the designed modules or ongoing sessions. It is advisable to continue group sessions long-term for as long as the person with the disease can benefit from them, given their cognitive levels of understanding.