When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia, the family can be knocked off their moorings – they find that their lives have been profoundly altered. During this time, it is common for spouses, partners, children and other family members to have difficulty absorbing, processing, and discussing this new news.
What happens next?
After a loved one is diagnosed with dementia, the lack of information, knowledge and resources may compromise a family’s ability to make the initial decisions or determine their next steps. Intra-family conflict, the mere shock of the diagnosis, and other challenging dynamics may make conversations — let alone sound choices — difficult without outside assistance. I provide gentle guidance and support for families following a dementia diagnosis, so as to help everyone get back on track.
What happens in a dementia family support session?
As a trained family facilitator, I create a safe and confidential space for families to engage in difficult conversations and be open about their true feelings. I allow family members to:
- Share their deepest fears and anxieties, as well as their needs and hopes
- Speak their minds and feel heard
- Speak without fearing or experiencing judgment
- Feel empowered to move toward solutions
- Decide next steps that meet their needs and the needs of their loved one
During each session, I aim to equip and encourage. When I sit with family members, I focus on:
- Normalizing sadness, fear, anger, anxiety and/or guilt
- Providing family members with access to resources and support
- Encouraging openness to hope, growth, joy, and discovery
- Empowering the family to make decisions and move forward from a place of grace and integrity rather than a place of fear and anxiety.
How Are These Sessions Structured?
Sessions that provide support for the family of a loved one with dementia are best conducted in person. However, I’m willing to consult via telephone or Skype if meeting in person isn’t feasible for you and your family.
What is the Process for Dementia Family Support Sessions?
I’ll work with you and your family to create a facilitation plan that works best for everyone. This plan can be reviewed and adjust as circumstances require.