How can a therapist help a dementia patient?

A therapist assesses, diagnoses, supports and treats a dementia patient which makes managing their symptoms easier for them. A therapist also aims to lighten the caregiver’s burden on the family by involving them in the process. They can help reduce mood and behaviour changes associated with dementia, help the family design living environments, put procedures and provide tools that enhance the daily functioning of the dementia patient. They can also help manage emotions like anxiety, depression, and sadness that may be experienced by the dementia patient and their family members.

What is the job description of a therapist?

A mental health therapist diagnoses and creates an individually tailored treatment plan for the treatment of mental health disorders. They help patients reflect on their psychological, behavioural, and emotional issues and difficulties and collaboratively develop strategies to make positive changes. They engage in regular counselling sessions, keep note of the patient’s progress, and make adjustments to the treatment plan as required.

What other treatments are required for a dementia patient apart from therapy?

Medications, individual psychotherapy, family therapy, and physiotherapy are some beneficial treatment options for a dementia patient. Medications can help improve the symptoms temporarily. Individual psychotherapy can help the patient cope with the symptoms of their illness, the associated emotional distress, and any other comorbid conditions. Family therapy can help educate the family about the illness and ways to manage the patient’s symptoms, while a physiotherapist could help prevent falls, which dementia patients are prone to.

How does a therapist help in developing a treatment plan for a dementia patient?

Therapists can help the dementia patient and the family come up with a treatment plan that includes strategies to manage emotions as well as improve the quality of life associated with dementia symptoms. The therapist can discuss with the dementia patient and their caregiver what methods they are employing already to manage dementia that are working as well as what behaviours could be improved. The therapist can assign homework to the patient and/or the caregiver such as practicing memory tools that can help cope with the symptom of memory loss.

How does a therapist help a caregiver of a dementia patient deal with stress?

Emotional stress of being a caregiver for a dementia patient is usually rated to be high or very high. A therapist can help improve and encourage the well-being of the caregiver in various ways such as – helping them actively engage in activities that reduce stress, understand and accept the changes in their loved one with dementia, and find a support system from family, friends, or a support group in order to deal with the physical, psychological, and emotional challenges that come as a result of caretaking of a dementia patient.


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