COLUMN: Mindfulness, Dementia & Joy

“If you come away feeling like a horrible caregiver, and you feel like you’re falling short all the time, your lens for seeing what is going well becomes distorted,” says Laura Rice-Oeschger, lead teacher and program director of the Presence Care Project, a nonprofit that brings the Buddhist-derived principles of mindfulness, loving-kindness, and meditation to dementia and end-of-life care. She observes that many people caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia put off their own health and well-being: “There’s this hyper-vigilance and stress reactivity in caregiving. . . . We’re setting conditions on ourselves all the time about when it is we will experience relaxation or peace.”

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Photo by Laura Rice-Oeschger

I wrote about Buddhism, mindfulness, Alzheimer’s disease and the difficulty of caring for aging parents for Buddhistdoor Global.  The article discusses a program that incorporates principles from Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction into end-of-life dementia care.  It’s a fascinating topic and one I really enjoyed covering.  Read the full article here: There is Also Joy.

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