How Can Hypnotherapy Help with Dementia?
Dementia Action Week is a really important opportunity to focus, not just on the condition of dementia and the impact it has on the individual, but on what we can do to help the people who will be caring for them. Dementia affects more than the person with the condition it also has a major impact on those people who are close to them.
My own personal experiences of dementia mean that I am passionate about helping people to cope with the stress and anxiety brought on with the diagnosis of dementia – both the person who has been diagnosed with the condition and also their carers, relatives and friends.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is not a disease in its own right and it is not a natural part of growing old. Dementia is caused by a series of damages or injury that has happened to the brain which is caused by brain activity not working the way it should. To enable the brain to run smoothly the neurons in the brain pass signals to each other that keep the brain and body functioning in the way they should. However, with dementia proteins known as “plaques or tangles” build up in the gaps between the neurons stopping the messages getting through eventually leading to that connection disappearing.
In dementia patients we see extreme shrinkage of the cortex (which plays a key role in attention, perception, awareness, thought, memory and language) and extreme shrinkage of the hippocampus (responsible for storing long term memories, spatial awareness and navigation. Once this tissue is lost it will affect the personality of the person with dementia, they will develop memory disorders, impaired reasoning and they will become less inclined to want to join in with activities they would have normally enjoyed. They will lose confidence in themselves.
It is often thought that dementia is a condition that affects older people, however, with ongoing research it is proven that people in their early 40s can develop dementia which is known as Early Onset Dementia. It is harder to get a diagnosis for younger people as dementia is one of the last conditions a GP will look for.
The earlier the diagnosis is made the better, not just in terms of the treatment options but it also gives the individual more opportunity to explore their care options and have a say in how they want to be treated in later stages i.e. do they want to go into a home when the dementia is in the late stages. This will remove a great deal of stress on the family as they will know they are carrying out their loved ones wishes.
How Can Solution Focused Hypnotherapy Help?
When a person is diagnosed with dementia this will, undoubtedly, cause a great deal of anxiety and stress for both the individual and their loved ones. They will instantly think about their future and the impact it will have on their relatives and friends. This is where hypnotherapy can be of help, both to the person diagnosed with dementia and also their relatives. Hypnotherapy reduces stress and anxiety which helps us to stay calm, relaxed and more in control of any situation.
With a diagnosis of dementia, our thoughts often move to the issues around the end of life. But it is really important to continue to focus on living life and carrying out tasks that will enable the person to live as normal a life as possible for as long as possible. Hypnotherapy can help here by:
- Helping with short term memory loss
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Helping concentration and thought patterns
- Help to keep people motivated and interested in what is going on around them
- Being able to concentrate on things for longer
- Help to control emotions
- Hypnotherapy can also help friends and family who will be supporting the person with dementia by helping them stay calm and relaxed and finding the patience to deal with the day to day challenges it will inevitably bring.
Living a healthy lifestyle can help those with dementia slow the process down. Staying active, eating healthily, continuing to do the things they enjoy like reading, jigsaws, art, exercise and socialising. Rest and relaxation is also important, many people with dementia find that their sleep is disturbed and as we know sleep is when much of the brain’s healing process happens. Listening to a guided relaxation each day will help relax them and also the carer or loved one as they can relax with them. Attending hypnotherapy sessions can help to work on specific areas of their life the individual would like to improve upon.
What Can You Do To Help Yourself?
I help all my clients look for the positives in their lives as this will help them cope better with the situation they are facing. Here are just some of the things we look at:
- Keep a Diary – Keeping a diary of all the things that have been good in your day is a good way to recall what going on around you.
- Make a Memory Book – Making a memory book is an excellent way to reflect positively on our lives, reminding us of our early days from childhood right through to adulthood. This can be a nice thing to do for yourself or with your loved ones – looking back on our lives in a positive way like this is enjoyable for everyone. It’s also an excellent way for carers to learn about the person they are caring for too.
- Make Lists – Making lists of the things you want to is a great idea, it’s a good feeling when you tick them off.
- Ask for Help – Never be afraid to ask for help. If you haven’t been able to complete your daily list then asking someone to help also helps them to understand how they can support you best.
If you feel you or your loved ones need more support you can contact the Dementia Helpline on 0800 888 6678 or email them on firstname.lastname@example.org They will be able to give you information about what’s going on in your area to help support you and your carers and loved ones.
About the Author: Catherine Veits practices from her peaceful therapy room in Lincoln. “My passion is working with people and their families or friends who have been affected by dementia. My own personal experiences and my training as a solution-focused Hypnotherapist means I am uniquely placed to help people cope better with the stress and anxiety this condition brings to both the individual and their loved ones. I will guide you through the different stages and help you find ways to adjust to the changes so that you can find a positive way to live with dementia.”
If you are feeling low and struggling to see the positives in life maybe it’s time to book your FREE initial consultation with your local Inspired to Change hypnotherapist. Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Devon, Essex, Kent, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk, Somerset and South Gloucestershire.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.
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