Psychological therapies are therapies that involve mental activities and talking. They are designed to help people cope with the symptoms of dementia rather than changing the course of the illness itself.
Behavioural therapy identifies triggers that cause certain behaviours and tries to tackle the triggers so that the behaviour will change.
For example if someone with dementia leaves the house and wanders around because they feel bored or restless, their carer might try to prevent this behaviour by giving them something stimulating to do to keep them occupied and relaxed. This can include anything from watching television or listening to their favourite music, to attending a day centre or getting plenty of exercise.
Cognitive stimulation involves doing different mental tasks to try to help with mental function. This could be puzzles or games involving memory, problem-solving or language, which can be done in groups. Sometimes this is combined with facts about the present environment to incorporate a therapy called reality orientation.....
Reality orientation aims to bring people with dementia back in to the present when they are confused. This can be done by reminding them of facts about themselves and the environment around them.
Although reality orientation is used a lot in some cases it may sometimes be better not to try to 'correct' a person with dementia. For instance if a person with dementia asks to see their late husband or wife, it might be more distressing to tell them the truth. This is known as validation therapy.