Mindfulness is tied in with staying in the present moment and about monitoring what is around you and going on simultaneously. It is tied in with being observational to things, for being and is thought to be able to support mental wellness. It is felt that mindfulness can be a valuable device in dementia care for both the dementia patient and their carer. Mindfulness fixates on staying alert however in a non-judgemental way, and is it is tied in with understanding the triggers that can make you be despondent, discouraged or depressed identifying a routine to support your own needs. This is something that could help a dementia patient in the early stages of the disease.
By what method would mindfulness be able to help the dementia patient?
In ongoing research, it has been demonstrated that mindfulness seemed to improve the cognitive functions, with an improvement in memory, and speed taken to process data. Increasingly broad research should be undertaken to further explore the effect however the act of mindfulness centers around having a new point of view to something that has happened that our minds may have just judged. MIndfulness can be used as a tool to help dementia patients to understand that distressing events will pass. This may help the patient when involved in noisy situations, which can be distressing and distracting and can help them to focus on how to remain calm within these situations. By practising mindfulness regularly, they may start to identify the triggers and know how to keep the feelings of anxiousness at bay; to avoid panic or anxiety. For example, they may feel better through listening to music.
How might this help the carer?
The dementia carer can likewise utilize the advantages of mindfulness to stay in the present and know that the difficulties involved in the dementia patients care, will pass. Again being more self aware and understanding triggers that may bring on feelings of anxiousness, nervousness or panic, can help to reduce the impact. The act of mindfulness can support the carer in times when their own mental wellbeing might be challenged. Caregiving can be tiring and difficult but knowing that you are supporting the patient to enjoy a better life and that you are making a difference, whilst they are living with the challenging disease.
Both dementia patient and carer can practise mindfulness together, therefore supporting each other to engage in the practise. Research is ongoing but mindfulness may also lessen the speed of progression of disease in dementia patients. Perhaps it is due to the way in which the brain and its cognitive functions are used in the practise of mindfulness. By recognising warning signals as to what causes us stress and learning how to reduce or stop that, it is thought that this also supports our brain cells from being impacted by stress.
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