Group Therapy with Senile Patients

Shoham, Harry; Neuschatz, Samuel
January 1985
Social Work;Jan/Feb85, Vol. 30 Issue 1, p69
Academic Journal
This article provides information on the group therapy for patients with senile dementia at the Daughters of Jacob Geriatric Center in New York City, New York. Although the center was providing the best possible physical care, the authors were concerned that it was not serving these patients adequately. A search of the literature pointed to Reality Orientation as an approach that offered hope for the mentally impaired elderly. This program consisted of a 24-hour team approach in which every contact was intended to help orient the confused person to such basic realities as name, date, place, and personal history. This approach was supplemented by formal Reality Orientation classes, which focused intensely on facts about the patients. The most disturbing factor was that there seemed to be a demeaning element in the constant memory testing. Group therapy is normally a technique for improving functioning in the real world. For senile person, especially those who are institutionalized, the "real world' is frequently the group itself. In the protective setting of the group, many patients experience successful social interaction, meaningful relationships, and increased self-esteem.


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