Parkinson Disease Dementia (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Support Groups and Counseling
If you are a person newly diagnosed with PD, you know that your disease has changed your life drastically. Not only are you losing some of your physical abilities, but you may be starting to lose some of your mental abilities as well. You worry about how long you will be able to continue enjoying relationships with family and friends, activities you enjoy, and independence. You worry about how your family will cope with caring for you and themselves as your disease progresses. You may feel depressed, anxious, even angry and resentful. The best way to deal with these emotions is to express them in some way. For many people, talking about these feelings helps relieve them.
If you are a caregiver for a person with PD and dementia, you know that the disease may tend to be more stressful for the family members than for the affected person. Caring for a person with PD and dementia can be very difficult. It often affects every aspect of life, including family relationships, work, financial status, social life, and physical and mental health. Caregivers may feel unable to cope with the demands of caring for a dependent, difficult relative. Besides the sadness of seeing the effects of your loved one's disease, you may feel frustrated, overwhelmed, resentful, and angry. These feelings may in turn leave caregivers feeling guilty, ashamed, and anxious. Depression is not uncommon. Caregivers should seek support systems to help them adjust to the problems and feelings they may encounter.
Different people, both patients and caregivers, have different thresholds for tolerating these PD dementia challenges.
This is why support groups were invented. Support groups are groups of people who have lived through the same difficult experiences and want to help themselves and others by sharing coping strategies. Mental health professionals strongly recommend that affected persons, to the extent they are able, and family caregivers take part in support groups.
In diseases involving dementia, it is mainly the caregivers who are helped by support groups. Support groups serve a number of different purposes for caregivers:
Support groups meet in person, on the telephone, or on the Internet. To find a support group that works for you, contact the following organizations. You can also ask a trusted member of your health care team, or go on the Internet. If you do not have access to the Internet, go to the public library.
For more information about support groups, contact these agencies:
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