Caregiving and Mindfulness

What is Mindfulness?

What comes to your mind when you hear the term “mindfulness”? Perhaps calm and serenity, or perhaps kindness and acceptance. Generally, mindfulness can be defined as a state of being in the present moment. It is a state of awareness that comes from purposefully paying attention without judgement.

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is an approach which integrates the elements of mindfulness into daily practice. The training course taught in the HOMeCARE study is provided courtesy of Palouse Mindfulness, which is based on the program founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Caring for the Carer

Imagine yourself being on an airplane, and the oxygen masks falls in front of you. What do you do?

As some of you may know, you are meant to place the oxygen mask over yourself first before helping someone else. In the same way, taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you could do as a carer.
Evidence has shown that the heightened demands associated with dementia care may lead to poor physical, psychological and emotional consequences. Fatigue, loss of focus, sleeping disturbances, stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms are commonly reported by carers which can affect their quality of life.

Why Mindfulness?

Here in the HOMeCARE study we believe that carers deserve to be cared for in the same way as their cared-for partners. Structured programs such as the 8-week MBSR has been shown to offer positive health outcomes for caregivers. These include:

  • Reduction of stress and anxiety
  • Improved coping abilities through self-reflection
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced tendencies to automatically react through awareness training
  • Physical health benefits through yoga and mindful exercises