Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What is counseling?
Counseling is a conversation or series of conversations between a counselor and client (or clients), who in this case are a caregiver and his or her family members. Counseling usually focuses on a specific problem and taking the steps to address or solve it. The NYUCI focuses on helping caregivers and their family members focus on their strengths and their common agenda so that the caregiver feels supported, not isolated. Problems are discussed in the present-tense as much as possible, rather than on family history or past experiences. Counselors guide clients to discover their own answers and support them through the actions they choose to take. What are the qualifications of the counselors in this program?
2. Who are the NYUCI counselors?
The counselors are licensed social workers, psychologists, coaches, and nurses and other health professionals who have been trained and certified to provide the NYUCI via distance counseling. They all have experience with family caregivers and knowledge of the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on the person with the illness and the family.
When you sign up, you’ll be able to view the profiles of the counselors, including the areas in which they practice, and the insurance plans they accept.
3. How do I choose a counselor?
The website has a link to descriptions of all the NYUCI counselors licensed and certified to provide the NYUCI online in your state. Look over the profiles available to you to learn about a counselor’s credentials, special training, fee schedule, available times, and what insurance he/she may accept. There may be additional information on languages spoken and other specialized training that may help you decide which counselor to choose.
4. Who can participate with me in the family meetings?
Anyone you would call a family member can participate. A friend, a god parent of your children, or anyone else to whom you feel close enough to confide in may fit your definition of family member. Think about those in your circle of family and friends who you think might help or provide emotional support for you as a caregiver.
5. How do we participate together?
Family members can participate with you from your home or from their home—or from wherever they have access to a computer or a handheld device that has internet access. When you decide to participate in the NYUCI, you will be given instructions on using the video conferencing program for the NYUCI.
6. What if no one wants to participate with me?
The NYUCI requires the participation of at least one family member. It is rare for a spouse or partner caregiver not to be able to find a family member or close friend, although your concern is understandable. Your counselor will help you to explore your options. While it is possible that some may not want to be involved, we have found in most cases that even estranged family members welcome the opportunity to reconnect with each other and help in this difficult situation.
7. Does the person with dementia take part in the program?
This decision should be made jointly by the family and counselor, who together can consider the risks and benefits of having the person with dementia attend one or more family meetings. Considerations include the desire of the caregiver and other family members to have him or her do so, and the ability and desire of the person with dementia to be included. To date, some people in the early stage of dementia have been included.
8. How do you protect my privacy?
All information collected during the counseling process is kept confidential. Only under extraordinary circumstances, for example, when someone is deemed to be a danger to him or herself or others, the counselor is legally required to report it the appropriate authorities. We have selected a video conferencing system that assures no one who is not invited can access the counseling sessions.
9. What if I don’t like the NYUCI? Do I have to finish it?
It is best to discuss your concerns with your counselor before you make a final decision about whether or not to stay in the program. Most problems can be resolved, and the process of doing so may yield valuable insights.
10. Is it free? How do I pay? Will insurance cover it?
This program is currently available only through participation in a study, and you will be randomly assigned to receive it at no cost. In the future, the fee schedule and any insurance plans in which a counselor participates will be described in the counselor’s profile. You and the counselor will arrange payment between you.
11. How long is a session?
Generally, sessions range from 90 minutes to 2 hours.