Mindfulness Allows Caregivers to Focus on Themselves

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto recently published a paper addressing care partner stress in parents of adult children with developmental disabilities. Participants were divided into two groups, and received either a support group or a mindfulness training intervention. Mindfulness, defined as “purposefully paying attention and being present in the moment,” has been shown to reduce stress and increase wellbeing in various populations. People who have been caring for someone with a disability for years often experience chronic stress; in addition, these care partners may become exhausted because of a lack of awareness around their own needs. This study included weekly group sessions as well as 3-minute tapes with a variety of meditations and focused on fitting these meditations into parents’ already-existing routines for greater accessibility. The mindfulness group, but not the social support group, experienced a significant decrease in stress, which suggests that even in small doses, meditation offers psychological benefits and provides a tool to combat “stress, fear, anger, and feelings of being overwhelmed.” The study’s author suggests that “[mindfulness] reminds caregivers that they can't properly look after someone else until they take care of themselves.” Published on National Family Caregiver Day, the study specifically included parents of adult children with developmental disabilities; more research needs to be conducted concerning care partners of aging adults, but mindfulness training may be a viable intervention and have parallel benefits for this group of care partners, as well.

SOURCE: CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/mindfulness-helps-parents-adult-children-developmental-disabilities-1.4055176

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Springer: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10803-017-3099-z

DATE RETRIEVED: April 7, 2017

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