Improve Mothers and Children with Autism with Mindfulness

Improve Mothers and Children with Autism with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often experience high stress in the form of psychological problems, marital strain, and/or family interaction difficulties. . . Mindfulness-based interventions have been found to be beneficial for these parents in many ways, such as decreasing their levels of depression, stress, and emotional reactivity . . . Additionally, many parents of children with ASD who engage in a mindfulness-based practice see a decrease in their child’s aggression and challenging behaviors and an improvement in the child’s overall functioning.” – Katy Oberle

 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that tends to appear during early childhood and affect the individual throughout their lifetime. It affects a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others, delays learning of language, makes eye contact or holding a conversation difficult, impairs reasoning and planning, narrows and intensifies interests, produces poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities, and is frequently associated with sleep and gastrointestinal problems. ASD is a serious disorder that impairs the individual’s ability to lead independent lives including complete an education, enter into relationships or find and hold employment. Mindfulness training has been shown to be helpful in treating ASD.

 

Providing care for children with autism can be particularly challenging. These children’s behavior is characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. These make it difficult to relate to the child and receive the kind of positive feelings that often help to support caregiving. The challenges of caring for a child with autism require that the parent be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive to their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. And it improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Component Analysis of the Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) Program for Mindful Parenting by Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223597/), Singh and colleagues examine the ability of mindful parenting to improve children with autism and their parents. They recruited mothers of children with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). After a 10-week preintervention control period the mothers were randomly assigned to receive training for 3 days followed by 30 weeks of practice of either Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS), mindfulness and meditation, or Positive Behavior Support (PBS). PBS involved instruction on how to positively manage their children’s behavior. They were measured before and after the intervention and yearly for 3 years following the intervention for perceived stress and amount of meditation practice and the children’s’ aggressive behaviors, disruptive behaviors, and compliance with mothers’ instructions.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline all groups had significant decreases in the mothers, perceived stress and the children’s aggressive behaviors and disruptive behaviors and significant increases in the children’ compliance with mothers’ instructions that was maintained over the 3-year follow-up period. But the group receiving Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) had significantly greater improvements in these measures than the mindfulness only group which in turn had significantly greater improvements than the Positive Behavior Support (PBS) group.

 

Dealing with a child with autism spectrum disorder is difficult, challenging and stressful. The results of the present study suggest that training in mindfulness and positive behavior support produces long lasting improvements in the children’s behaviors and the mother’s stress levels. The results further suggest that both mindfulness training and positive behavior support training produce significant benefits with mindfulness training superior. But the combination of the trainings produces maximum effects. Hence, the benefits of mindfulness training and positive behavior support training appear to be additive.

 

The levels of effectiveness of the combined Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) were quite remarkable with the children’s aggressive and disruptive behaviors almost reduced to zero and this compliance with the mothers’ instructions nearly doubled. The fact that these benefits last over 3 years is quite remarkable. As such MBPBS training should be recommended for mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder.

 

So, improve mothers and children with autism with mindfulness.

 

mindful parenting can affect not just you and reduce your own stress, but it can also help your children, as well.” – A. Stout

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G. E., Medvedev, O. N., Hwang, Y. S., & Myers, R. E. (2020). A Component Analysis of the Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) Program for Mindful Parenting by Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Mindfulness, 1–13. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01376-9

 

Abstract

Objectives

Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) has been shown to be effective in reducing stress and burnout in parents and professional caregivers of children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The aim of this study was to assess the comparative effects of the mindfulness (MB) and positive behavior support (PBS) components against the MBPBS program for mindful parenting.

Methods

The study utilized a three-arm randomized controlled trial design, with a 10-week pre-treatment control condition, 30 weeks of intervention, and 3 years of post-intervention follow-up. Mothers of children with ASD were randomly assigned to the MB, PBS, and MBPBS conditions and provided 3 days of training specific to each condition. The effects of these programs were assessed on the mothers (i.e., training attendance, meditation time, perceived psychological stress) and spillover effects were assessed on their children with ASD (i.e., aggression, disruptive behavior, compliance with mothers’ requests).

Results

Mothers in the MBPBS condition reported greater reductions in perceived psychological stress, followed by those in the MB condition, and with no significant changes reported by those in the PBS condition. Reduction in the children’s aggression and disruptive behavior followed a similar pattern, with most to least significant reductions being in MBPBS, MB, and PBS condition, respectively. Significant increases in compliance (i.e., responsiveness to mothers’ requests) were largest in the MBPBS condition, followed by MB, and then PBS. Changes across all variables for both mothers and their children were maintained for 3 years post-intervention. After time and training type were controlled for, meditation time was a significant predictor in reducing aggressive and disruptive behaviors, and in enhancing compliance of the children with mothers’ requests.

Conclusions

Positive outcomes for mothers and their children with ASD were significantly greater in the MBPBS condition, followed by the MB condition, and least in the PBS condition. MBPBS appears to be an effective mindful parenting program on the assessed variables.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223597/

 

Reduce the Psychological Burdens on Parkinson’s Disease Caregivers with Mindfulness

Reduce the Psychological Burdens on Parkinson’s Disease Caregivers with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindfulness-based interventions can improve mental health status, including reduction of stress and anxiety levels, in family caregivers of veterans with Parkinson’s disease.” Patricia Inacio

 

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is an incurable progressive degenerative disease of the central nervous system. The condition is caused by the death of nerve cells in the brain that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. There are around seven million people worldwide and one million people in the U.S. living with PD and about 60,000 people are diagnosed with PD every year. Its physical symptoms include resting tremor, slow movements, muscle rigidity, problems with posture and balance, loss of automatic movements, and slurring of speech. PD itself is not fatal but is often associated with related complications which can reduce life expectancy, such as falls, choking, and cardiovascular problems. Parkinson’s Disease (PD) also has psychological effects, especially cognitive decline, anxiety, and depression. All of these symptoms result in a marked reduction in the quality of life. There are no cures for Parkinson’s Disease or even treatments to slow its progression. There are only treatments that can produce symptomatic relief.

 

Caring for Parkinson’s Disease patients is very demanding and goes on for years. This exacts a tremendous toll on caregivers’ health and well-being. Caregiving has been associated with increased levels of depression and anxiety as well as higher use of psychoactive medications, poorer self-reported physical health, compromised immune function, and increased mortality. Mindfulness training has been shown to be beneficial for caregivers. So, mindfulness training may be helpful in decreasing the psychological difficulty of caring for a patient with Parkinson’s Disease.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness and Psychological Flexibility are Inversely Associated with Caregiver Burden in Parkinson’s Disease.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071391/), Klietz and colleagues recruited Parkinson’s Disease patients and their primary caregivers. The patients and the caregivers were asked to complete a questionnaire measuring depression, and health-related quality of life. The caregivers only completed measures of Parkinson’s disease caregiver burden, psychological flexibility, and mindfulness. The patients also completed a measure of Parkinson’s disease -related impairment.

 

They found that the higher the levels of Parkinson’s Disease symptoms, patient quality-of-life restrictions, caregiver quality-of-life restrictions, and depressive symptoms of the caregiver the higher the Parkinson’s Disease caregiver burden. But the higher the levels of mindfulness and psychological flexibility the lower the levels of Parkinson’s Disease caregiver burden.

 

These results are correlational and so causation cannot be determined. They show that the burden on the caregivers are related to the severity of Parkinson’s Disease symptoms and their impact on the patient’s and caregiver’s quality of life. But the results also suggest that if the caregiver’s have high levels of mindfulness and the ability to be flexible, they experience lower burden.

 

Psychological flexibility refers to the extent to which a person can cope with changing circumstances and think about problems and tasks in novel and creative ways.” This then suggests that the caregiver’s ability to think about their situation in different ways is important for reducing the burden they experience. “Mindfulness is defined as the tendency to purposely bring one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without judgement.” This suggests that the caregiver’s ability to see their situation as it really is but not judge it contributes to lessening their burden. In the future it would be interesting to train caregivers in mindfulness and psychological flexibility and determine if this training produces a decrease in the burden the caregivers experience.

 

So, reduce the psychological burdens on Parkinson’s Disease caregivers with mindfulness.

 

Family caregivers fill a world of need, and in doing so are at risk of falling into the caregiver burnout abyss. . . Mindfulness is a necessary core competency that we all need to develop. Taking space for yourself will keep you grounded and peaceful while allowing you to be of service.” – Audrey Meinertzhagen

 

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Klietz, M., Drexel, S. C., Schnur, T., Lange, F., Groh, A., Paracka, L., Greten, S., Dressler, D., Höglinger, G. U., & Wegner, F. (2020). Mindfulness and Psychological Flexibility are Inversely Associated with Caregiver Burden in Parkinson’s Disease. Brain sciences, 10(2), 111. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci10020111

 

Abstract

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative movement disorder with progressive impairments in activities of daily living. With disease progression, people with PD (PwP) need more help and care from their spouses or professional caregivers. Identifying factors that help caregivers to cope with their burden is needed to frame future interventions for PwP caregivers. Mindfulness and psychological flexibility might be factors contributing to resilience against the burden of giving care. In this cross-sectional questionnaire-based study, 118 PwP and their respective primary caregivers were included. Caregivers reported moderate burden and only mild depressive symptoms. Mindfulness measured by the Mindfulness Attention and Awareness scale (p 0.003) and psychological flexibility measured by Acceptance and Actions Questionnaire II (p 0.001) correlated negatively with caregiver burden. Data from this study indicate mindfulness and psychological flexibility are factors contributing to resilience against caregiver burden. Future interventions to reduce burden in PwP caregivers might be improved by the inclusion of mindfulness training programs.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071391/

 

Improve the Well-Being of Mothers of Children with Autism with Mindfulness

Improve the Well-Being of Mothers of Children with Autism with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder . . . who engage in a mindfulness-based practice see a decrease in their child’s aggression and challenging behaviors and an improvement in the child’s overall functioning.” – Katy Oberle

 

There is a tremendous demand for caregiving in the US. It is estimated that over 65 million (29% of the adult population) provides care to someone who is ill, disabled or aged, averaging 20 hours per week spent caring for their loved ones. This caregiving comes at a cost exacting a tremendous toll on caregivers’ health and well-being. Caregiving has been associated with increased levels of depression and anxiety as well as higher use of psychoactive medications, poorer self-reported physical health, compromised immune function, and increased mortality.

 

Providing care for a child with autism can be particularly challenging. About one out of every 68 children is considered autistic. These children’s behavior is characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. These make it difficult to relate to the child and receive the kind of positive feelings that often help to support caregiving. The challenges of caring for a child with autism require that the parent be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive to their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. And it improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that employs many of the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes. The application of mindfulness skills to the parents of children with autism is relatively new. So, it would seem reasonable to investigate the ability of ACT to improve the psychological well-being of mothers of children with autism.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effectiveness of Group Based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on Emotion Cognitive Regulation Strategies in Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6861729/?report=classic), Salimi and colleagues recruited mothers of children with autism and randomly assigned them to receive either a once a week for 2 hours for 8 weeks program of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or a health education control condition. They were measured before and after training for emotion regulation including self-blaming, blaming others and positive reevaluation, blaming, rumination, considering a situation as disastrous, reception, planning/positive refocuses.

 

They found that after treatment the mothers showed a significant increase in reception, planning/positive refocuses and significant decreases in self-blaming, blaming others and positive reevaluation, blaming, and considering a situation as disastrous. Hence, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) significantly improved the ability of mothers of children with autism to regulate their emotions. This is very important as these mothers are extremely important for these children but under great stress and emotional turmoil. Being able to improve their psychological well-being is important for both the mother and child.

 

So, improve the well-being of mothers of children with autism with mindfulness.

 

“People who practice mindfulness learn to pay specific attention to what is happening in the moment — and that includes moments that are stressful or chaotic. It is easy to get overtaken by stress or negativity, but mindfulness teaches people to find distance from their negative thoughts by learning to acknowledge them and label them when they happen.” – Julianne Garey

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Salimi, M., Mahdavi, A., Yeghaneh, S. S., Abedin, M., & Hajhosseini, M. (2019). The Effectiveness of Group Based Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on Emotion Cognitive Regulation Strategies in Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum. Maedica, 14(3), 240–246. doi:10.26574/maedica.2019.14.3.240

 

Abstract

Background:Autism spectrum disorder has a big impact on family life. Mothers of children with autism face many challenges. This study was conducted to determine the effectiveness of group-based acceptance and commitment therapy on cognitive emotion regulation strategies in mothers of children with autism.

Method:This is a quasi-experimental study with a pretest-posttest control group design. The research population included mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder referring to exceptional schools, who were living in Tehran. After cluster random sampling, 30 mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder were selected and randomly assigned to two groups: an experimental group and a control group, each consisting of 15 women. Participants responded to the cognitive emotion regulation questionnaire vulbefore and after intervention. The experimental group received group-based acceptance and commitment therapy (eight two-hour sessions), while no intervention was given to the control group.

Results and conclusion:Covariance analysis of data showed that group-based acceptance and commitment therapy had a significant effect on positive/planning strategy refocusing (p=0.003), positive reappraisal (p=0.004), self-blaming (p=0.001), blaming others (p=0.007), considering a situation as disastrous (p=0.001), reception (p=0.008). However, there was not a significant difference in the dimensions of rumination (p=0.025). Therefore, it is recommended that welfare institutions and centers should provide a training plan based on acceptance and commitment therapy to improve the current cognitive emotion regulation strategies for mothers of children with autism spectrum.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6861729/?report=classic

 

Possibly Improve Dementia Patient Caregiver Mental Health with Mindfulness

Possibly Improve Dementia Patient Caregiver Mental Health with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“One of the major difficulties that individuals with dementia and their family members encounter is that there is a need for new ways of communicating due to the memory loss and other changes in thinking and abilities. The practice of mindfulness places both participants in the present and focuses on positive features of the interaction, allowing for a type of connection that may substitute for the more complex ways of communicating in the past. It is a good way to address stress.” – Sandra Weintraub

 

Dementia is a progressive loss of mental function produced by degenerative diseases of the brain. Dementia patients require caregiving particularly in the later stages of the disease. Caregiving for dementia patients is a daunting intense experience that can go on for four to eight years with increasing responsibilities as the loved one deteriorates. This places tremendous psychological and financial stress on the caregiver. Hence, there is a need to both care for the dementia patients and also for the caregivers. Mindfulness practice for caregivers has been shown to help them cope with the physical and psychological demands of caregiving. In addition, mindfulness training has been found to help protect aging individuals from physical and cognitive declines.

 

There has accumulated a considerable body of research on the effectiveness of mindfulness to improve the psychological health of caregivers for dementia patients. In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness-based stress reduction for family carers of people with dementia.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6513415/), Liu and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies on the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training for the relief of the psychological distress produced by caring for a patient with dementia. The MBSR program generally consisted of 8 weekly group sessions involving meditation, yoga, body scan, and discussion. The patients were also encouraged to perform daily practice.

 

They found and included 5 controlled research studies containing a total of 201 caregivers. They report that the published research was generally of low quality with great concerns regarding the precision of measurements. Ignoring these concerns the studies that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training in comparison to active control conditions produced small reductions in caregivers levels of depression and anxiety.

 

In general, there are indications that the MBSR program produces small improvements in caregivers’ levels of anxiety and depression but the quality of the evidence is low. This is an important area as caregiving for dementia patients is needed but difficult and exacts a toll on the caregiver. So, relieving the caregivers suffering is very important. Hence, the review identified a great need for more better designed and executed research.

 

So, possibly improve dementia patient caregiver mental health with mindfulness.

 

In regard to dementia care, mindfulness is not just a stress-reduction tool. It can also help with another critical aspect of dementia caregiving: the need to meet the person in the present moment, where they are most likely to reside and engage due to the dementia.” – Marguerite Manteau-Rao

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Liu, Z., Sun, Y. Y., & Zhong, B. L. (2018). Mindfulness-based stress reduction for family carers of people with dementia. The Cochrane database of systematic reviews, 8(8), CD012791. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012791.pub2

 

Abstract

Background

Caring for people with dementia is highly challenging, and family carers are recognised as being at increased risk of physical and mental ill‐health. Most current interventions have limited success in reducing stress among carers of people with dementia. Mindfulness‐based stress reduction (MBSR) draws on a range of practices and may be a promising approach to helping carers of people with dementia.

Objectives

To assess the effectiveness of MBSR in reducing the stress of family carers of people with dementia.

Search methods

We searched ALOIS ‐ the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group’s Specialized Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (all years to Issue 9 of 12, 2017), MEDLINE (Ovid SP 1950 to September 2017), Embase (Ovid SP 1974 to Sepetmber 2017), Web of Science (ISI Web of Science 1945 to September 2017), PsycINFO (Ovid SP 1806 to September 2017), CINAHL (all dates to September 2017), LILACS (all dates to September 2017), World Health Organization (WHO) International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP), ClinicalTrials.gov, and Dissertation Abstracts International (DAI) up to 6 September 2017, with no language restrictions.

Selection criteria

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of MBSR for family carers of people with dementia.

Data collection and analysis

Two review authors independently screened references for inclusion criteria, extracted data, assessed the risk of bias of trials with the Cochrane ‘Risk of bias’ tool, and evaluated the quality of the evidence using the GRADE instrument. We contacted study authors for additional information, then conducted meta‐analyses, or reported results narratively in the case of insufficient data. We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane.

Main results

We included five RCTs involving 201 carers assessing the effectiveness of MBSR. Controls used in included studies varied in structure and content. Mindfulness‐based stress reduction programmes were compared with either active controls (those matched for time and attention with MBSR, i.e. education, social support, or progressive muscle relaxation), or inactive controls (those not matched for time and attention with MBSR, i.e. self help education or respite care). One trial used both active and inactive comparisons with MBSR. All studies were at high risk of bias in terms of blinding of outcome assessment. Most studies provided no information about selective reporting, incomplete outcome data, or allocation concealment.

  1. Compared with active controls, MBSR may reduce depressive symptoms of carers at the end of the intervention (3 trials, 135 participants; standardised mean difference (SMD) ‐0.63, 95% confidence interval (CI) ‐0.98 to ‐0.28; P<0.001; low‐quality evidence). We could not be certain of any effect on clinically significant depressive symptoms (very low‐quality evidence).

Mindfulness‐based stress reduction compared with active control may decrease carer anxiety at the end of the intervention (1 trial, 78 participants; mean difference (MD) ‐7.50, 95% CI ‐13.11 to ‐1.89; P<0.001; low‐quality evidence) and may slightly increase carer burden (3 trials, 135 participants; SMD 0.24, 95% CI ‐0.11 to 0.58; P=0.18; low‐quality evidence), although both results were imprecise, and we could not exclude little or no effect. Due to the very low quality of the evidence, we could not be sure of any effect on carers’ coping style, nor could we determine whether carers were more or less likely to drop out of treatment.

  1. Compared with inactive controls, MBSR showed no clear evidence of any effect on depressive symptoms (2 trials, 50 participants; MD ‐1.97, 95% CI ‐6.89 to 2.95; P=0.43; low‐quality evidence). We could not be certain of any effect on clinically significant depressive symptoms (very low‐quality evidence).

In this comparison, MBSR may also reduce carer anxiety at the end of the intervention (1 trial, 33 participants; MD ‐7.27, 95% CI ‐14.92 to 0.38; P=0.06; low‐quality evidence), although we were unable to exclude little or no effect. Due to the very low quality of the evidence, we could not be certain of any effects of MBSR on carer burden, the use of positive coping strategies, or dropout rates.

We found no studies that looked at quality of life of carers or care‐recipients, or institutionalisation.

Only one included study reported on adverse events, noting a single adverse event related to yoga practices at home

Authors’ conclusions

After accounting for non‐specific effects of the intervention (i.e. comparing it with an active control), low‐quality evidence suggests that MBSR may reduce carers’ depressive symptoms and anxiety, at least in the short term.

There are significant limitations to the evidence base on MBSR in this population. Our GRADE assessment of the evidence was low to very low quality. We downgraded the quality of the evidence primarily because of high risk of detection or performance bias, and imprecision.

In conclusion, MBSR has the potential to meet some important needs of the carer, but more high‐quality studies in this field are needed to confirm its efficacy.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6513415/

 

Improve Workplace Wellness with Mindful Meditation

Improve Workplace Wellness with Mindful Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

If your workforce deals with stress, emotional health issues, or low morale, you’ll likely benefit from implementing a meditation program. Meditation programs have a lot of amazing health and wellness benefits that will have a positive impact on your employees.” – Robyn Whalen

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for our psychological and physical health. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the people we work with. But, more than half of employees in the U.S. and nearly 2/3 worldwide are unhappy at work. This is partially due to work-related stress which is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This stress can result in impaired health and can result in burnout; producing fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy.

 

To help overcome unhappiness, stress, and burnoutmindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace. Indeed, mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, it has become very trendy for business to incorporate meditation into the workday to help improve employee well-being, health, and productivity. These programs attempt to increase the employees’ mindfulness at work and thereby reduce stress and burnout. The research has been accumulating. So, it is important to step back and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness meditation for workplace wellness: An evidence map.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6598008/), Hilton and colleagues reviewed and summarized published systematic reviews of the research on mindfulness training in the workplace and its effects on employee health and well-being. They identified 175 reviews that focused on health care workers, caregivers, educators, and general workplace workers.

 

They report that the reviews demonstrated that mindfulness-based interventions were effective in treating chronic conditions producing relief of psychological distress, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Mindfulness was found to produce small decreases in chronic pain but significant improvements in pain-related quality of life. Mindfulness training was found to reduce substance abuse and help prevent relapse, reduce negative emotions, anxiety, depression, somatization, irritable bowel syndrome, and stress effects. Mindfulness training also was effective in cancer care, including reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and fatigue, and improving sleep and quality of life. for support of caregivers.

 

These findings are remarkable. The wide range of positive benefits on physical and mental health are breathtaking. To this authors knowledge there is no other treatment that has such broad application and effectiveness. This suggests that workplace mindfulness training is safe and highly effective and should be implemented throughout the workplace.

 

So, improve workplace wellness with mindful meditation.

 

The ancient art of meditation has many benefits, especially in the workplace. Studies have shown that meditation practiced in the workplace has a direct impact on increased productivity, creativity, focus, and the overall happiness of employees.” – The Lotus

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Hilton, L. G., Marshall, N. J., Motala, A., Taylor, S. L., Miake-Lye, I. M., Baxi, S., … Hempel, S. (2019). Mindfulness meditation for workplace wellness: An evidence map. Work (Reading, Mass.), 63(2), 205–218. doi:10.3233/WOR-192922

 

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Mindfulness interventions aim to foster greater attention and awareness of present moment experiences. Uptake of mindfulness programs in the workplace has grown as organizations look to support employee health, wellbeing, and performance.

OBJECTIVE:

In support of evidence-based decision making in workplace contexts, we created an evidence map summarizing physical and mental health, cognitive, affective, and interpersonal outcomes from systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of mindfulness interventions.

METHODS:

We searched nine electronic databases to July 2017, dually-screened all reviews, and consulted topic experts to identify systematic reviews on mindfulness interventions. The distribution of evidence is presented as an evidence map in a bubble plot.

RESULTS:

In total, 175 systematic reviews met inclusion criteria. Reviews included a variety of mindfulness-based interventions. The largest review included 109 randomized controlled trials. The majority of these addressed general health, psychological conditions, chronic illness, pain, and substance use. Twenty-six systematic reviews assessed studies conducted in workplace settings and with healthcare professionals, educators, and caregivers. The evidence map shows the prevalence of research by the primary area of focus. An outline of promising applications of mindfulness interventions is included.

CONCLUSIONS:

The evidence map provides an overview of existing mindfulness research. It shows the body of available evidence to inform policy and organizational decision-making supporting employee wellbeing in work contexts.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6598008/

 

Improve Caregiver Psychological Health by Changing the Brain Response with Mindfulness

Improve Caregiver Psychological Health by Changing the Brain Response with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“We are set up for short-term stress, but caregiving is long-term stress. Mindfulness is basically coming back into the present moment, so it works to inhibit the stress response. Most of us run around listening to our thoughts, and this is particularly true of caregivers, who are driven by the to-do list. They are never at rest.” – Joan Griffiths Vega

 

Dementia is a progressive loss of mental function produced by degenerative diseases of the brain. Dementia patients require caregiving particularly in the later stages of the disease. Caregiving for dementia patients is a daunting intense experience that can go on for four to eight years with increasing responsibilities as the loved one deteriorates. This places tremendous psychological and financial stress on the caregiver. Hence, there is a need to both care for the dementia patients and also for the caregivers. Mindfulness practice for caregivers has been shown to help them cope with the physical and psychological demands of caregiving. In addition, mindfulness training has been found to help protect aging individuals from physical and cognitive declines.

 

The nervous system is a dynamic entity, constantly changing and adapting to the environment. It will change size, activity, and connectivity in response to experience. These changes in the brain are called neuroplasticity.  Over the last decade neuroscience has been studying the effects of contemplative practices on the brain and has identified neuroplastic changes in widespread area. and have found that meditation practice appears to mold and change the brain, producing psychological, physical, and spiritual benefits.

 

In today’s Research News article “Grief, Mindfulness and Neural Predictors of Improvement in Family Dementia Caregivers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6530345/), Jain and colleagues recruited dementia caregivers (91% female) and provided for them either 4 weeks of mindfulness training or 4 weeks of relaxation training. Training occurred in a once a week meeting along with home practice. The participants were measured before and after training for grief, depression, and mindfulness. They then had brain scans performed with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) while they viewed pictures of their loved one with dementia or a stranger with the pictures labelled with either grief related words, e.g. disease, dementia, and sick or with neutral words e.g. village, planter and curve.

 

They found that at baseline grief and depression levels were high and strongly related. They also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of grief and depression. After mindfulness training there were reductions in grief and depression and increases in mindfulness. These findings are similar to previous research of improvements in the mental health of caregivers after mindfulness training.

 

Interestingly, in comparison to pictures of strangers, when showed pictures of their loved ones with dementia the caregivers showed increases in brain activation in the dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus and precuneus. Viewing grief related words results in increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex. The greater the decreases in grief following training the greater the activation of the medial prefrontal cortex and precuneus.

 

The structures showing activation to the caregiver’s loved one all are components of what is called the default mode network which is involved in self-referential thinking and thinking about others. It would appear that the mindfulness training resulted in greater thinking about the dementia patient and the self when viewing a picture of the patient. This may be reflective of heightened compassion for the self and the patient. This in turn, may produce improvements in the caregivers mental health.

 

So, improve caregiver psychological health by changing the brain response with mindfulness.

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

“By focusing on the fact that families and communities are producers of health and health care, not just clients or consumers, it empowers families and communities to co-create health interventions,” – Alicia Bazzano

 

Study Summary

 

Jain, F. A., Connolly, C. G., Moore, L. C., Leuchter, A. F., Abrams, M., Ben-Yelles, R. W., … Iacoboni, M. (2019). Grief, Mindfulness and Neural Predictors of Improvement in Family Dementia Caregivers. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 13, 155. doi:10.3389/fnhum.2019.00155

 

Abstract

Background: Family dementia caregivers often suffer from an immense toll of grief while caring for their loved ones. We sought to identify the clinical relationship between grief, depression and mindfulness and identify neural predictors of symptomatology and improvement.

Methods: Twenty three family dementia caregivers were assessed at baseline for grief, mindfulness and depression, of which 17 underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). During fMRI, caregivers were shown faces of either their dementia-stricken relative or that of a stranger, paired with grief-related or neutral words. In nine subjects, post fMRI scans were also obtained after 4 weeks of either guided imagery or relaxation. Robust regression was used to predict changes in symptoms with longitudinal brain activation (BA) changes as the dependent variable.

Results: Grief and depression symptoms were correlated (r = 0.50, p = 0.01), and both were negatively correlated with mindfulness (r = −0.70, p = 0.0002; r = −0.52, p = 0.01). Relative to viewing strangers, caregivers showed pictures of their loved ones (picture factor) exhibited increased activation in the dorsal anterior cingulate gyrus and precuneus. Improvement in grief but not mindfulness or depression was predicted by increased relative BA in the precuneus and anterior cingulate (different subregions from baseline). Viewing grief-related vs. neutral words elicited activity in the medial prefrontal cortex and precuneus.

Conclusions: Caregiver grief, depression and mindfulness are interrelated but have at least partially nonoverlapping neural mechanisms. Picture and word stimuli related to caregiver grief evoked brain activity in regions previously identified with bereavement grief. These activation foci might be useful as biomarkers of treatment response.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6530345/

Increase Positive Feelings About Caregiving for Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

Increase Positive Feelings About Caregiving for Cancer Patients with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“caregivers of cancer patients face under-recognized health challenges. “Studies have suggested that caregivers are more depressed than patients themselves. There is also a reciprocal relationship between caregivers and patients, so improving quality of life for caregivers could improve patient outcomes.” – Sarah Stanley

 

There is a tremendous demand for caregiving in the U.S. It is estimated that over 65 million (29% of the adult population) provides care to someone who is mentally or physically ill, disabled or aged, averaging 20 hours per week spent caring for their loved ones. This caregiving comes at a cost to the caregiver. It exacts a tremendous toll on caregivers’ health and well-being. Caregiving has been associated with increased levels of depression and anxiety as well as higher use of psychoactive medications, poorer self-reported physical health, compromised immune function, and increased mortality.

 

Family members are an increasingly important source of caregiving. But it comes with a cost to the caregiver. Mindfulness training has been shown to be beneficial for both the caregiver and the patients. So, mindfulness training may be helpful in decreasing the psychological difficulty of caring for a patient with cancer.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindful Learning Improves Positive Feelings of Cancer Patients’ Family Caregivers.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6352041/ ), Geng and colleagues recruited caregivers for cancer patients and randomly assigned them to receive either 4, 30-minute, mindfulness training sessions or mindlessness training. The mindfulness training involved “innovation classification” in which they were asked to “think and write four answers from different perspectives to a picture-related question.” The mindlessness condition involved writing answers to the same pictures but from only one perspective. They were measured before and after training for mindfulness, caregiver reactions, and positive aspects of caregiving.

 

They found in comparison to baseline and the mindlessness group, that after training the mindfulness group had significantly higher mindfulness and positive feelings toward caregiving. In addition, the higher the levels of mindfulness, the greater the positive feelings toward caregiving.

 

These results suggest that a simple form of mindfulness training can improve caregiver’s mindfulness and feeling about caregiving for cancer patients. It remains for future research to demonstrate if these benefits are lasting and can result in improved care for the patients and less stress and burnout for the caregivers.

 

So, increase positive feelings about caregiving for cancer patients with mindfulness.

 

“We are set up for short-term stress, but caregiving is long-term stress. Mindfulness is basically coming back into the present moment, so it works to inhibit the stress response. Most of us run around listening to our thoughts, and this is particularly true of caregivers, who are driven by the to-do list. They are never at rest.” – Joan Griffiths Vega

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Geng, L., Wang, J., Cheng, L., Zhang, B., & Shen, H. (2019). Mindful Learning Improves Positive Feelings of Cancer Patients’ Family Caregivers. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(2), 248. doi:10.3390/ijerph16020248

 

Abstract

Positive feelings are an important health dimension for family caregivers of cancer patients. The aim of this study was to investigate whether Langerian mindfulness is a valid proactive method to increase the positive feelings of family caregivers for cancer patients. Participants were randomly assigned to either a mindfulness group or a mindlessness group and completed the Caregiver Reaction Assessment (CRA) as a measure of caregivers’ feelings before the intervention. Subsequently, both groups were given four sessions of mindfulness training using “innovation classification”. Finally, participants completed the Langer Mindfulness Scale (LMS) and the Positive Aspects of Caregiving (PAC) scale as post-intervention measures. The results revealed that participants in the mindfulness and mindlessness groups differed significantly in LMS and PAC scores, with the mindfulness group having higher levels of positive feelings than those in the mindlessness group. The results also indicated that mindfulness level significantly predicted positive feelings of caregivers. Thus mindful interventions may play a meaningful role in promoting family caregivers’ spirituality and faith, improving the willingness of sharing their thoughts, beliefs, and grief, which could be useful for increasing the positive feelings of caregivers.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6352041/

 

Improve the Psychological Health of Mothers of Children With Fragile X Syndrome with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Health of Mothers of Children With Fragile X Syndrome with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“the key to reducing caregiver burnout and compassion fatigue lies in what can be construed to some as the seemingly counter intuitive wisdom of mindfulness. Being mindful and engaging in radical self-care is proving to be one of the most effective ways to take care of your loved one while fortifying yourself.” – Audrey Meinertzhagen

 

Fragile X Syndrome is an incurable genetic disorder that involves the FMR1 gene on the X Chromosome. This gene is involved in promotion communications between neurons in the nervous system. This disorder affects about 200,000 children a year in the US and is characterized by trouble learning skills like sitting, crawling, or walking, problems with language and speech, hand-flapping and not making eye contact, temper tantrums, poor impulse control, anxiety, extreme sensitivity to light or sound, and hyperactivity and trouble paying attention. Some children with fragile X also have changes to their face and body that can include a large head, long, narrow face, large ears, a large forehead and chin, loose joints, and flat feet.

 

Needless to say, raising these children can be a challenge and place considerable stress on the caregivers. Caregiving exacts a tremendous toll on caregivers’ health and well-being. Caregiving has been associated with increased levels of depression and anxiety as well as higher use of psychoactive medications, poorer self-reported physical health, compromised immune function, and increased mortality. The challenges of caring for a child with Fragile X Syndrome requires that the individual be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. And it improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction. So, it is not surprising that mindfulness improves caregiving and assists the caregiver in coping with the stress.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness and Acceptance as Potential Protective Factors for Mothers of Children With Fragile X Syndrome.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6232517/ ), Wheeler and colleagues administered an online survey to mothers of children with Fragile X Syndrome. They measured the severity of the child’s disability, perceived stress, mindfulness, mindful parenting, anxiety, depression, physical health, and psychological acceptance. They then performed a regression analysis to explore the relationships between these variables.

 

They found that overall the mothers were high in perceived stress and anxiety. The child’s symptoms took their toll as the greater the severity of the child’s disability the higher the levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms in the mothers. They also found that mindfulness and acceptance appeared to buffer these effects with high levels of mindfulness and acceptance associated with low levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms and high levels of mindful parenting associated with low levels of anxiety, depression, and physical symptoms. Importantly, acceptance attenuated the effect of the child’s disability the lower the levels of physical symptoms. Being mindful and accepting of the child’s condition and behavior were very highly associated with reduced maternal distress.

 

These results are interesting but they are correlational and causation cannot be determined. But they suggest that mindfulness, mindful parenting, and acceptance are important for dealing with the deleterious effects of caring for a child with Fragile X Syndrome. Previous research has shown that mindfulness can produce improvements in the caregiver’s psychological state. So, it is likely that there is a causal connection between mindfulness and the psychological state of caregivers for children with Fragile X Syndrome.

 

These results suggest that training in mindfulness, mindful parenting, and acceptance may be greatly beneficial for mothers caring for children with Fragile X Syndrome, reducing their distress and potentially improving their caregiving for the child. This is a difficult situation for the mothers and such help could be greatly beneficial.

 

So, improve the psychological health of mothers of children with Fragile X Syndrome with mindfulness.

 

“mindfulness practices could be helpful for these caregivers because they encourage a nonjudgmental interpretation of their child’s situation, and increased acceptance of their reality. Mindfulness practices also help people observe their thoughts and behaviors with less reactivity and judgment, which could enable caregivers to better respond to the emotional and physical difficulties they encounter.” – Emily Nauman

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wheeler, A. C., Miller, S., Wylie, A., & Edwards, A. (2018). Mindfulness and Acceptance as Potential Protective Factors for Mothers of Children With Fragile X Syndrome. Frontiers in public health, 6, 316. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2018.00316

 

Abstract

Women with an FMR1 premutation may be at increased genetic risk for stress vulnerability. This increased vulnerability, when combined with stressful parenting that can result from raising children with fragile X syndrome (FXS), may result in negative physical and emotional outcomes. Mindfulness and acceptance have been found to be protective factors for parents of children with similar behavioral challenges, but these traits have not previously been explored among mothers with a child with FXS. This study explored the associations of child disability severity with maternal stress, anxiety, depression, and physical health symptoms in 155 biological mothers of children with FXS. Women completed an online survey using standardized measures of stress, mindfulness, and acceptance. General mindfulness, mindfulness in the parenting role, and general acceptance were explored as potential protective factors between the child disability severity and maternal outcomes. Trait mindfulness and acceptance were significant predictors of lower stress, anxiety, depression, and daily health symptoms, while mindful parenting was associated with lower stress, anxiety, and depression. Acceptance was found to attenuate the effects of child severity on maternal stress and depression. These findings suggest that interventions focused on improving mindfulness and acceptance may promote health and well-being for mothers of children with FXS and have important health implications for all individuals with an FMR1 premutation.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6232517/

 

Improve the Well-Being of Dementia Patients and Their Caregivers with Mindfulness

Improve the Well-Being of Dementia Patients and Their Caregivers with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“people who care for family members with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in the home experienced a decrease in perceived stress and mood disturbance when practicing Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Another trial indicates that MBSR was “more effective at improving overall mental health, reducing stress, and decreasing depression” than those who only participated in a caregiver education and support intervention.” – Heather Stang

 

Dementia is a progressive loss of mental function produced by degenerative diseases of the brain. Dementia patients require caregiving particularly in the later stages of the disease. Caregiving for dementia patients is a daunting intense experience that can go on for four to eight years with increasing responsibilities as the loved one deteriorates. This places tremendous psychological and financial stress on the caregiver. Hence, there is a need to both care for the dementia patients and also for the caregivers. Mindfulness practice for caregivers has been shown to help them cope with the physical and psychological demands of caregiving. In addition, mindfulness training has been found to help protect aging individuals from physical and cognitive declines.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Training for People With Dementia and Their Caregivers: Rationale, Current Research, and Future Directions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6008507/ ), Berk and colleagues review and summarize the published research literature on the effectiveness of mindfulness training for both the patients with dementia and their caregivers.

 

They found that the literature reports that mindfulness training can help patients with mild cognitive decline by improving memory. They also report that mindfulness training improves the quality of life and depression in dementia patients and their caregivers when they are trained in mindfulness together. They further found that the research reports that mindfulness training helps the caregivers for the dementia patient by lowering perceived stress levels and depression and improving their quality of life. Hence, it appears that mindfulness training improves the well-being of both dementia patients and their caregivers.

 

These results fit with previous findings that mindfulness training in general improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress, depression, cognitive function, and quality of life in a wide variety of patients and healthy individuals of all ages. The results further suggests that training the dementia patient and their caregiver together is feasible and may have additional benefits for both.

 

So, improve the well-being of dementia patients and their caregivers with mindfulness.

 

“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.” – Ken Paller

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Berk, L., Warmenhoven, F., van Os, J., & van Boxtel, M. (2018). Mindfulness Training for People With Dementia and Their Caregivers: Rationale, Current Research, and Future Directions. Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 982. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00982

 

Abstract

The world population is aging and the prevalence of dementia is increasing. By 2050, those aged 60 years and older are expected to make up a quarter of the population. With that, the number of people with dementia is increasing. Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia. The progression of symptoms with no hope of improvement is difficult to cope with, both for patients and their caregivers. New and evidence-based strategies are needed to support the well-being of both caregiver and patient. Mindfulness training is a body-mind intervention that has shown to improve psychological well-being in a variety of mental health conditions. Mindfulness, a non-judgmental attention to one’s experience in the present moment, is a skill that can be developed with a standard 8-week training. Research has shown preliminary but promising results for mindfulness-based interventions to benefit people with dementia and caregivers. The aim of this review is (a) to provide a rationale for the application of mindfulness in the context of dementia care by giving an overview of studies on mindfulness for people with dementia and/or their caregivers and (b) to provide suggestions for future projects on mindfulness in the context of dementia and to give recommendations for future research.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6008507/

 

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Dementia Patients and their Caregivers with Mindfulness

Improve the Psychological Well-Being of Dementia Patients and their Caregivers with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness training eases depression and improves sleep and quality of life for both people with early-stage dementia and their caregivers. . . . Mindfulness involves attentive awareness with acceptance for events in the present moment. 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.” – Marla Paul

 

Dementia is a progressive loss of mental function produced by degenerative diseases of the brain. Dementia patients require caregiving particularly in the later stages of the disease. Caregiving for dementia patients is a daunting intense experience that can go on for four to eight years with increasing responsibilities as the loved one deteriorates. This places tremendous psychological and financial stress on the caregiver. Hence, there is a need to both care for the dementia patients and also for the caregivers. Mindfulness practice for caregivers has been shown to help them cope with the physical and psychological demands of caregiving. In addition, mindfulness training has been found to help protect aging individuals from physical and cognitive declines.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness Training for People with Dementia and Their Caregivers: Rationale, Current Research, and Future Directions.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00982/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_686352_69_Psycho_20180626_arts_A ), Berk and colleagues review and summarize the published research on the application of mindfulness training for the treatment for dementia patients and their caregivers.

 

They find that the published research reports that mindfulness training improves the psychological well-being of caregivers for dementia patients. It significantly reduces depression and anxiety and improves self-efficacy. Studies of mindfulness training for the dementia patients themselves report improvements in attention, memory, cognition, and quality of life. When the patients and their caregivers were both trained in mindfulness there were significant improvements in stress responses and mood in both.

 

These are important findings that strongly suggests that mindfulness training is a safe and effective means to improve the psychological well-being of both the dementia patient and their caregiver. Given the great difficulty and stress produced by dementia on both the patient and caregiver, these improvements are very important to relieve or at least mitigate the suffering of both. This suggests that mindfulness training should be routinely provided for dementia patients and their caregivers.

 

So, improve the psychological well-being of dementia patients and their caregivers with mindfulness.

 

“The dementia journey is hugely challenging and provokes in us a great deal of frustration, fear and dread—understandably. But as much as dementia is described as a journey of loss, it can also become a journey of love and understanding. At times, love needs to be gritty and determined; at other times, it will be sweet. At all times it must be unconditional.” – Alice Ashwell

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Berk L, Warmenhoven F, van Os J and van Boxtel M (2018) Mindfulness Training for People With Dementia and Their Caregivers: Rationale, Current Research, and Future Directions. Front. Psychol. 9:982. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00982

 

Abstract

The world population is aging and the prevalence of dementia is increasing. By 2050, those aged 60 years and older are expected to make up a quarter of the population. With that, the number of people with dementia is increasing. Unfortunately, there is no cure for dementia. The progression of symptoms with no hope of improvement is difficult to cope with, both for patients and their caregivers. New and evidence-based strategies are needed to support the well-being of both caregiver and patient. Mindfulness training is a body-mind intervention that has shown to improve psychological well-being in a variety of mental health conditions. Mindfulness, a non-judgmental attention to one’s experience in the present moment, is a skill that can be developed with a standard 8-week training. Research has shown preliminary but promising results for mindfulness-based interventions to benefit people with dementia and caregivers. The aim of this review is (a) to provide a rationale for the application of mindfulness in the context of dementia care by giving an overview of studies on mindfulness for people with dementia and/or their caregivers and (b) to provide suggestions for future projects on mindfulness in the context of dementia and to give recommendations for future research.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00982/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_686352_69_Psycho_20180626_arts_A