Dementia is a group of illnesses, such as Alzheimer's, Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia and Frontotemporal dementia. As we live longer and with improved diagnosis the number of people affected is increasing. In England only 48% of people with dementia receive a diagnosis, which means there are still around 416,000 people who are living with dementia but who are not diagnosed (http://www.alzheimers.org.uk). Symptoms include memory loss, forgetfulness, repetitive questions, impaired activities of daily living, agitation, altered sleep and others.
A lot of emphasis and support is offered to the person suffering from Dementia but often the carer of that person is going unnoticed. The daily pressures on the person who is looking after someone with Dementia can be immense. Not only will they have to make sure that the sufferer is looked after but also to ensure all the finances are in place, the house is looked after and children or other family members are kept in the loop. This can lead to the carer feeling overwhelmed and lonely. As dementia progresses and the sufferer becomes less and less functioning the carer ends up feeling more and more lonely and at times lost.
From my experience a patient or a carer would use counselling to offload their worries and concerns. It is an opportunity to explore issues in a non-judgmental environment and to discuss things that it may be difficult to discuss with a family member or friend; issues such as “could I put my partner in a care home?” or “how would it be if I was to meet someone else”. It can help to put their lives into perspective and to examine what the future might be like.
Counselling may help a person suffering from dementia at the early stages of the illness but counselling is also recommended for the carers/loved ones of the person suffering from the illness.