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Online Therapy for Dementia Patients

Goda Brzozauskaite
  • Mar 26, 2022
  • 5 min read
high angle view of senior man playing jigsaw puzzle as dementia therapy

Dementia takes no prisoners – it robs us of what we hold dearest; our memory, sharp thinking speed, judgment, and sometimes our language. This is no small problem. It affects roughly 5.8 million people in the US.

Talking therapy can’t cure dementia. But what it can do, is alleviate some of the complex feelings and thoughts associated with the early and middle stages of dementia. That way, you can go on enjoying your life long after your dementia diagnosis. 

Online counseling is the shiny new talking therapy. With greater flexibility and accessibility, it’s the top treatment for dementia patients. 

How Does Dementia Impact One’s Life?

Dementia is considered a syndrome that brings along a group of symptoms related to a progressive decline in brain function. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia; it’s the one most people have heard of. 

The symptoms associated with dementia are:

  • Memory loss
  • Reduction in thinking speed
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Changes in mood
  • Decreased understanding
  • Reduced mental sharpness 
  • Increased difficulty performing daily tasks
  • Lowered judgment
  • Movement progressively harder

It’s a debilitating condition that can affect an individual’s personality, behaviors, emotions, and relationships. It may be coupled with hallucinations and a loss of empathy. Dementia symptoms tend to worsen over time. 

How Does Online Counseling for Dementia Work?

Talking therapy for dementia patients

It’s not easy choosing whether or not to start therapy – it takes careful consideration. In talking therapy, you’ll have 1:1 sessions with a trained and licensed mental health professional, typically a counselor or therapist – sometimes a psychiatrist. 

Therapy is tailored to the individual – you and your therapist will work together, exploring your thoughts, feelings, and emotions to begin to understand how these affect your mood and behaviors.

It’s a confidential space, meaning your therapist can’t share what you discuss with anyone unless there’s a risk of significant harm to you or someone else. 

Online Therapy for Dementia Patients

So, we’ve talked about in-person therapy. How about online therapy for dementia patients? 

Talking therapy can be conducted in several ways – in-person counseling is the most well-known. However, nowadays, you can also receive counseling over the phone, on a video call, or even via live chat.

The concept is the same as traditional in-person talking therapy; you’ll have 1:1 sessions with a therapist or counselor. But online therapy has many advantages. 

Online therapy provides flexibility. It enables you to access mental health support from the comfort of your own home without worrying about travel costs or logistics. 

For dementia patients especially, this is highly advantageous as it can save any confusion about getting to and from the therapy practice. 

Online therapy is also typically cheaper, making it more affordable and accessible. And despite old beliefs, it’s just as effective as in-person therapy. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that it may be even more effective

How Can Therapy Help With Dementia?

One of the biggest challenges dementia patients face is accepting their diagnosis. When people hear dementia, they think the worst. It can be challenging to come to terms with. 

A dementia diagnosis comes with many tricky decisions, such as whether the patient should continue to live alone, whether they need caring for, and who will do this. 

Making these complicated decisions when you’re also struggling emotionally seems impossible. 

With the combination of all these difficulties, it’s not a wonder dementia patients are more at risk of developing mental health difficulties. Unfortunately, studies show around 40% of dementia patients suffer from depression. That’s compared to 20% of older people in the general community. 

It’s also common for dementia patients to struggle with anxiety, paranoia, and agitation. This is what makes therapy so essential. 

Counseling has been shown to reduce mental health difficulties in dementia patients, particularly anxiety and depression. For more information on these conditions, click here

The aim of counseling for dementia patients is to:

  • Understand emotions surrounding a dementia diagnosis
  • Aid understanding of the illness
  • Allow the therapist to show kindness and non-judgment
  • Work through individual issues relating to a dementia diagnosis 
  • Reduce the emotional impact of the illness

Therapy can ease the burden and assist you in dealing with dementia. It can stop mental health difficulties in their tracks and allow you to continue living happily.  

What Are the Benefits of Counseling for Dementia?

Therapy reaps many rewards for dementia patients. It can improve well-being and understanding of the illness. The therapeutic space will allow confidence and self-esteem to flourish. 

You’ll learn how to take care of yourself and experience what it feels like to have someone who doesn’t judge you but shows you only kindness. 

The isolation you previously felt can be diminished; you won’t be battling your diagnosis alone. Your therapist will introduce dementia support services and groups, so you can connect with people going through a similar experience to you. 

Therapy benefits a dementia patient’s family, too. As counseling will give you a better understanding of your condition, there won’t be as much weight placed on your family. 

They’ll be able to support you emotionally, but they won’t be solely responsible for helping you. This means you can continue to enjoy positive relationships with your family, even when the illness begins to worsen. 

How to Find a Therapist?

The therapeutic relationship

The relationship between therapist and client is a vital element of therapy. A strong, trusting relationship between you and your therapist will likely lead to a better general mood and a greater understanding of yourself. 

A weak relationship, however, may result in therapy ending prematurely. So, getting this bit right is crucial. Choose someone you feel comfortable with and get along with. This will help you open up about your most distressing thoughts and feelings. 

And you don’t have to stick with one therapist forever. If, after your initial consultation, you feel the therapist isn’t for you, look for another one. 

And if you spend one, two, or even ten sessions with one therapist and change your mind, that’s okay too!

Online therapy makes switching therapists easier. With online therapy platforms like DoMental, you can shop around quite easily without the intimidation of actually turning a therapist down directly. 

What to look for in an in-person therapist

Maybe you’re okay with switching therapists, but what you’re struggling with is knowing what to look for. What should you check your therapist has? 

If you’re enquiring about face-to-face therapy sessions, ensure the therapist:

  • Is accredited and a member of a professional body, such as the American Counseling Association.
  • Follows the code of ethics required by mental health professionals.
  • Seeks regular supervision to keep their practice safe.
  • Gives you a detailed explanation of confidentiality and their fees and asks you to sign a contract outlining all of these details. If it’s online therapy, you don’t need to sign a contract – verbal consent is enough!

Finding Your Therapist: Online Therapy

If you’ve decided online therapy is for you, you don’t have to worry about the 4-step process above. 

Online therapy platforms like DoMental vet their therapists for you, so you can be sure you’re receiving support from someone who’s licensed, experienced, and accredited. 

Here are some simple steps to set you on the right track to finding your therapist:


Sign up for an online therapy platform like DoMental. DoMental has a modern, easy-to-use website that makes signing up to therapy easy. Signing up involves choosing what therapy type you want (individual or couples). Then, you’ll answer some questions about yourself, such as why you’re seeking treatment and what your general mood is day-to-day. 


Then, wait for DoMental to work its magic. DoMental will use the information you shared to scope out the best mental health professional for you. Your therapist will contact you directly, so you don’t have to do the legwork.


Decide how you’d like online therapy – via video call, messaging, or telephone call. Then, it’s time to organize an initial consultation with your therapist. The great thing about DoMental is that you’ll only be contacted by therapists who have availability. So, no rejection at the first hurdle.


If the first therapist isn’t for you, try again with someone else Remember, you can go through as many therapists as you need to find one that’s right for you. Go for someone you get along with, and feel comfortable chatting to. 

The Bottom Line

When you’re struggling with a dementia diagnosis, it can feel like your thoughts and feelings get scrunched up, and your mind gets crowded. Therapy helps smooth them out, so you can make sense of them again. 

Really, therapy type isn’t the be-all and end-all. It doesn’t really matter whether it’s in-person or online. What matters most is that you’re getting the support you need. 

While in-person therapy provides a face-to-face interaction, online therapy for dementia patients is a cheaper, more accessible option.  

If you’re interested in online therapy and you’re ready to try it, get started with DoMental today. Just click here!

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