Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is a progressive disease of the brain which affects all aspects of a person’s life. A person suffering with the disease most often experiences severe impairments in their mental abilities, as well as emotional, social, behavioural, and physical abilities. In time, a person with Alzheimer’s will have deficits in thinking, memory, reasoning, and overall mood. For these reasons, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is devastating for the whole family. Loved ones are left to grapple with a frightening diagnosis as well as worried and concerned about what the future holds.
In therapy, I help family members through the process from early signs or symptoms, through diagnosis, and all stages of the disease. I provide support, as well as concrete strategies and approaches in caring for loved ones diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Additionally, I link family members to resources in Toronto for both people suffering from Alzheimer’s as well as their family members and caregivers. I also act as an advocate and liaison to other mental health professionals working with you and your family.
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is difficult for the entire family. Most often, it is one or two close family members that are left responsible for most of the caregiving and all it entails. The caregivers are often left feeling overwhelmed and ill equipped by this new role. For these reasons, it is so important for family members in the caregiving role to care for themselves as well, and not lose themselves in the process. Caregivers need to learn ways to find small ways to continue to find opportunities for joy, fulfillment and personal growth. In therapy, I help in the process of identifying and setting these personal goals, and the ways in which they can be achieved in this very difficult life stage.