August 25, 2014
Science Daily/Northwestern University
Mindfulness training for individuals with early-stage dementia and their caregivers together in the same class was beneficial for both groups, easing depression and improving sleep and quality of life. Just eight sessions of training made a positive difference, resulting in more joy, less worry.
This is the first study to show that the caregiver and the patient both benefit from undergoing mindfulness training together. This is important because caregivers often don't have much time on their own for activities that could relieve their emotional burden.
The training also helps the patient and caregiver accept new ways of communicating, scientists said.
"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," noted study co-author Sandra Weintraub, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Feinberg and a neuropsychologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "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."
"We saw lower depression scores and improved ratings on sleep quality and quality of life for both groups," said Paller, director of the cognitive neuroscience program. "After eight sessions of this training we observed a positive difference in their lives."
Science Daily/SOURCE :http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140825152608.htm