Most people want to live at home, despite disability or dementia. Such ageing-in-place is supported by 2.5 million informal caregivers in Australia, who are critical to this goal, as 97% of older adults with disability have informal caregivers.
The nature of this relationship however is under threat due to increasing cognitive and physical frailty, which in turn heightens caregiving requirements. Depression and stress experienced by the caregiver increases the risk of institutionalisation of their loved one, regardless of the actual level of disability or behavioural difficulties.
Studies have demonstrated some success in helping carers manage their stress through structured programs and access to support services. Similarly, other papers have shown that exercise programs for people living with dementia may improve physical and cognitive function, behavioural disturbance, sleep, and therefore alleviate some caregiver stress.
HOMeCARE combines the principles of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction for the caregivers and a home-based exercise training program for the person living with dementia. Our goal is to support ageing-in-place for this vulnerable cohort of older adults with mild-moderate dementia.
For those interested in getting involved with our research program, click here to visit study site.
How to use the HOMeCARE Website
The HOMeCARE website was developed as a resource for dementia caregivers and their loved ones. To begin your journey with HOMeCARE, we suggest that you as the caregiver start with Mindfulness over a period of 8 weeks. This will allow you to learn about becoming a mindful caregiver, and provide the opportunity apply these concepts into your daily life. By being a mindful caregiver, not only will you be less anxious and stressed by new challenges, you will also be better equipped to facilitate the home-based exercises for your loved one. Additional mindfulness materials are also available from week 9 onwards, so that you can continue this journey. Practicing mindfulness and living mindfully every day provides many benefits to your own health and well-being, and this sense of peace will spill over into many other areas of your life.
Once you complete the core 8 weeks of Mindfulness, we suggest that then you are most equipped to proceed to the Exercise component of HOMeCARE. Please read through all the safety information before you start any exercises with your loved one. If you have experience with Mindfulness already, or you feel ready to begin the exercises sooner, that is fine too. However, doing it sequentially in the way we have recommended may make it less likely that you will feel overwhelmed or don’t finish the program. Don’t worry if you have to take a break in the middle of the Mindfulness program- just pick up where you left off!
If you have any questions about the HOMeCaRE program, or if you are interested about our HOMeCARE research study where you will be guided through the program by our trained health care professional staff, please contact us and leave your details for us to get in touch. One of our staff members will get back to you as soon as possible.