Mindfulness for Caregivers of People with Dementia

Deana Huntsbarger and the team who run the mindfulness program

Award Date: 2017

Project Lead(s): Deana Huntsbarger, External Relations Manager, Regulatory & Start Up Specialist

Project Title: Mindfulness Interventions for Caregivers of Patients with Alzheimer's Disease

What is the issue?

Caregivers who look after people with dementia report high levels of burnout, stress, and anxiety. There are currently no mindfulness programs tailored to these caregivers.  

What did we do?

We asked caregivers of individuals with dementia to participate in an eight-week mindfulness program at our clinicOur goal was to see if mindfulness techniques could reduce stress, anxiety, and burdens, and improve their quality of life. Twenty-four caregivers signed up to participate in one and a half hour, weekly sessions held in-clinic for eight weeks. During the sessions, their dementia partners took part in a separate group activity. Two caregivers had to drop out and did not finish the program.  

What did we find?

Most of the caregivers felt that the mindfulness sessions improved their ability to relate to and communicate with their family member with dementiaMore than 90 % of participants reported that the program supported their role as caregiver. It helped them to be more emotionally involved and live in the moment more often. Many of them reported less stress.