Debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) have been known to cause a high level of stress, not only for people suffering with the disease, but for caregivers and family members as well. Stress related disorders such as anxiety and depression affects Caregivers at a much higher than average rate.
If you’ve ever wondered just what mindfulness practice can do to help manage the everyday stress experienced by many Alzheimer’s caregivers, you will be interested to learn that new studies point to the effectiveness of mindfulness practice in stress reduction.
Mindfulness practice is all about learning how to stay in the moment of non-judgmental awareness. According to one encouraging new study, mindfulness was shown to help caregivers as well as those with AD to better deal with stressful emotions-such as feelings of being overwhelmed.
According to a recent study conducted by Northwestern Medicine, published in the American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias; mindfulness training for those in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers (together in the same class)showed a decrease in the level of depression and an improvement in the quality of sleep, for both the patient and his/her caregiver.
The study was comprised of 37 participants; most were involved in the study as part of a patient/caregiver team. The patients had early AD with mild to moderate memory loss,dementia from a stroke, or other types of dementia. Caregivers involved in the study were family members such as spouses and adult children.
According to study author, Ken Paller, professor of psychology, and a fellow of the Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Northwestern University Weinberg School of Medicine; “The disease is challenging for the affected person, family members and caregivers. Although they know things will likely get worse, they can learn to focus on the present, deriving enjoyment in the moment with acceptance and without excessive worry about the future. This is what was taught in the mindfulness program.”
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