Mindfulness and Dementia

Mindfulness meditation has become increasingly prominent in society in recent years and an impressive evidence base about its effectiveness in addressing important medical conditions such as stress, depression, addiction and pain control has begun to emerge.  Having developed a keen interest in this form of meditation Guy has joined together with some colleagues to develop a research proposal to test out whether mindfulness meditation could be an effective intervention for people with Dementia and their carers.

A while back it occurred to Guy that, since much of the distress of Dementia stems from people’s inability to access the recent past (or assess the future), then concentration on remaining in the present through mindfulness might have some distinct benefits.  The team involved a number of dementia specialists and mindfulness teachers, as well as two academic advisers.  We have completed a small pilot study which collected results from 12 people with dementia and 8 carers.  The headline messages were:-

  1. It is possible to teach mindfulness meditation to some people with dementia, particularly those in the earlier stages of the illness
  2. Those people with dementia who are able to understand and practice mindfulness meditation can derive a wide range of quality of life benefits
  3. The teaching of mindfulness to people with dementia is likely to be more effective with a course which is adapted to convey the more ‘cognitive elements’ in more dementia friendly ways
  4. It is difficult for people with dementia to continue to practice without support

To read a summary version of the report click here

To read the full report click here

To read an extensive literature review regarding meditation and dementia click here

For further information contact  guyrobertson@positiveageingassociates.com