We recently released an episode about mindfulness meditation for people with dementia. However, let's not forget that you (caregivers, family members, friends, professionals, etc.) can also benefit from this practice!
Mindfulness has become a bit of a trend lately, and there's a reason for that. It is something that anyone can learn and, for many people, it works! It reduces stress, improves mood, and according to one study can even reduce bias. But what about for caregivers?
Well, as it turns out, there are numerous studies that have looked at mindfulness specifically for caregivers of individuals with dementia. It's not a magic cure, but the studies do show that it can help reduce stress and anxiety for these caregivers. I find it especially relevant because mindfulness is all about being present in the moment, and for many individuals with dementia, the MOMENT is all they can see. It may not work for everyone, but it is certainly worth trying.
I'm including my sources below as well as a quick handout I made about mindfulness meditation. We hope you find them useful! Let us know if mindfulness meditation has worked for you.
Epstein-Lubow, G., Mcbee, L., Darling, E., Armey, M., & Miller, I. W. (2011). A Pilot Investigation of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Caregivers of Frail Elderly. Mindfulness, 2(2), 95-102. doi:10.1007/s12671-011-0047-4
Li, G., Yuan, H., & Zhang, W. (2016). The Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Family Caregivers: Systematic Review. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 30(2), 292-299. doi:10.1016/j.apnu.2015.08.014
Oken, B. S., Fonareva, I., Haas, M., Wahbeh, H., Lane, J. B., Zajdel, D., & Amen, A. (2010). Pilot Controlled Trial of Mindfulness Meditation and Education for Dementia Caregivers. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 16(10), 1031-1038. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0733
Whitebird, R. R., Kreitzer, M., Crain, A. L., Lewis, B. A., Hanson, L. R., & Enstad, C. J. (2012). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Family Caregivers: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Gerontologist, 53(4), 676-686. doi:10.1093/geront/gns126
Thomas Baird LCSW
Maggie Dawson MSW