Toward a Family-Sensitive Practice in Dementia

Manuel Gon^alves-Pereira

No man is an island,

Entire of itself.

Each is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.

Meditation XVII, from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions

(John Donne, 1624)

Abstract Families are often capable of managing a substantial proportion of the challenges related to the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). However, in most circumstances, persons with dementia and their family members need tailored help, including some kind of family intervention. Support and information are needed in general terms. Structured psychoeducation and systemic family therapy both respond to specific indications and require specialized training in order to be delivered appropriately. After setting the scene by guiding the reader through major references in the literature, this chapter discusses hints for addressing the family in routine clinical practice. A golden rule is that family issues must be assessed at some stage, in order to judge their importance in the BPSD context. This assessment is a necessary step toward whatever intervention is both indicated and possible, but besides this, assessments sometimes lead to changes in the family regardless of further intervention.

Keywords Family interventions • Family therapy • Psychoeducation • Systemic therapy • Health literacy • Caregivers • Dementia • Alzheimer’s disease

M. Gonfalves-Pereira (*)

CEDOC, Chronic Diseases Research Center, Nova Medical School, Faculdade de Ciencias Medicas, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Campo Martires da Patria 130,

1169-056 Lisboa, Portugal e-mail: This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017 349

A. Verdelho, M. Gonfalves-Pereira (eds.), Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Cognitive Impairment and Dementia, Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Neurological Disease, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-39138-0_16

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