Mindfulness and Person Directed Care

September 08, 2014
Virgil Thomas, ChangingAging.org

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Recently the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias published a study showing the effects of mindfulness on care partnerships. CBS News wrote up the findings in an interesting article.

Alzheimer’s disease takes a psychological and physical toll not only on the affected patients, but also on their caregivers. Now, a new study has shown that training inmindfulness — learning how to focus on the present moment — may help improve the emotional well-being of people with early-stage dementia due to Alzheimer’s and their caregivers.

Both patients and their caregivers in the study who had attended an eight-week mindfulness training program showed improvement in depression scores and sleep quality, as well as their overall quality of life.

Previous research has shown that people who look after family members suffering from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s may be particularly vulnerable to anxiety, depression, immune dysfunction and other health concerns.

The article continues

“Mindfulness involves attentive awareness with acceptance for events in the present moment,” Paller said. “You don’t have to be drawn into wishing things were different. Mindfulness training in this way takes advantage of people’s abilities rather than focusing on their difficulties.”

The results are not all that surprising. Slowing down, and increasing communication are powerful ways for each member of the care partner team to become well-known to each other. The upshot of this story is that increasing focus on being present, awareness, cooperation, and partnership is a powerful substitute to medication. It offers further proof that methods like person-directed care have a tangible impact on quality of care and quality of life.

1 Comment. Leave new

Neysa M. Peterson, RN, MA in Community Counseling
September 19, 2014 4:20 pm

I am a resident in an assisted living with a nursing background and had cared for my husband for 9 years’ he had fronto-temporal degeneration ubiquitin2 until his death in 2008. I came upon ” the value of mindfulness” through my reading and personal experience in caring for my husband. I am wondering what curriculum was used in the study mentioned with caregivers and early Alzheimer’s folk. The director of my assisted living is interested in possibly using i some with caregivers in her facility and I am not aware of what is available. I myself am a resident in assisted living because of incomplete paraplegia resulting from a spinal cord bleed and would like to help as much as I can.

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