What is Mindfulness Based Dementia Care?

Learn how mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can help caregivers reduce stress and improve care for loved ones with dementia. Explore the benefits of mindfulness training and how it can manage negative thoughts and behaviors.

What is Mindfulness Based Dementia Care?

Mindfulness based dementia care is based on mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Mindfulness is a process that teaches an individual how to be fully present in the moment. It has been proven scientifically to be an effective tool to reduce stress.

Mindfulness practice helps develop an awareness of the mind and how your thoughts have an affect on your body. It also teaches how our unconscious thoughts, feelings, result in behaviors that can have a negative impact on our emotional, physical, and spiritual health. The mind is known to play a strong factor in stress. Mindful meditation has been shown to reduce our emotional responses.

It is a group intervention program at last about eight weeks and it prioritizes how to pay attention and concentrate in each moment without judgment. Through mindfulness training, the caregiver/care partner can identify and understand that holding on to some feelings cannot only be ineffective, but mentally destructive. The goal of the program is to teach caregivers to learn mind management skills.

This leads to heightened awareness, acknowledgment and acceptance of negative thought patterns, and learning to respond in a positive way. The caregiver learns to dismiss their negative thoughts and feelings and allow the mind to move from an automatic thought process to a conscious one.

Mindfulness-based training is a course, where the group meets once a week for approximately 2 hours. The caregiver is expected to practice what is learned in those weekly sessions, using guided meditations to develop mindfulness, or living in the moment in their daily lives.

Mindfulness training for dementia care is a relatively new process which helps caregivers understand and adapt to the reality of the person with dementia.

The goal of mindfulness based dementia training is to help the caregiver understand that there are five universal needs for every individual according to Maslow’s theory. Through training, the caregiver learns that challenging or negative behaviors or as a result of unmet needs of the person with dementia.

Caregivers are also strongly encouraged to teach others mindfulness-based approach to care. To be successful it is important to include the entire team in this approach. Mindfulness-based practice is difficult to sustain and continue without support and practice.

Recent studies show that a caregiver’s approach can affect the family member afflicted with dementia and decrease the progression of the disease. A study, The Cache County Dementia Progression Study, by research scientists at Utah State University recently published the results to the study to show that there is a strong connection between the aspects of the caregiver approach and the rate in the progression of dementia. This is the first study of its kind to be published.

Mindfulness based training can reduce stress, improve the quality of care and create a greater sense of well being in both the person suffering with dementia, as well as the care giver.

Stress reduction is so important, as many care givers of a family member with dementia become seriously ill or even may die before the person with dementia does. It has been found that high levels of stress may result in elder abuse.

Mindfulness-based dementia training changes how you approach life. It can improve the quality of life for the caregiver as well as the person with dementia.