Therapy for Alzheimer's Caregivers

  • An article by Kathleen Fackelmann, in the Nov. 14, 2006 edition of USA TODAY, titled “Counseling Keeps Alzheimer’s Patients Home,” shows more evidence that professional help and support for the caregiver can make all the difference.

    The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America and the National Alzheimer’s Association both advocate education and support for Alzheimer’s caregivers. This article stresses professional counseling for the family.

    The article quotes a study from the New York University School of Medicine that talks about the dollars saved by not placing a loved one in a nursing home sooner than necessary. Better health – mental and physical – of the caregiver, is the reason for the delay. People who receive intensive counseling are better able to cope with the stress of caring for an Alzheimer’s inflicted loved one.
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    They are better able to tolerate the agitation and severe memory loss that accompanies Alzheimer’s. This helped some caregivers bypass depression and burnout. One would think it would also help the other diverse stress-related illnesses caregivers can suffer.

    The article stresses that most caregivers would like to keep their loved one at home as long as possible. I’d think that the counseling would help no matter what stage of caregiving you are in. Even with a loved one in a nursing facility, you are on call 24/7. They are never off your mind. You are still visiting and still emotionally involved. You are still a caregiver.

    I often remind people, in “Minding Our Elders,” that professional counseling may benefit the caregiver. The caregiver needs to find the time to go to counseling. That, of course, is the trick. Try to find some respite care so you can get support for yourself. You – and your loved one – will benefit.
Published On: November 16, 2006