A mindfulness based dementia care pilot program: impact on caregivers' stress and compassion

Approximately 5.3 million people in the United States are afflicted with a form of dementia. Dementia impacts not only the patient but it also impacts the lives and health of their family caregivers. The amount of stress and low levels of self-compassion that have been found in caregivers of dementia is significant. The purpose of this study was to examine dementia caregiver stress levels and self-compassion ratings during their participation in a six week Mindfulness Based Dementia Care (MBDC) program. This longitudinal study collected data from 24 dementia caregivers to analyze caregivers’ levels of mindfulness, stress, and self-compassion by using the Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire, Self-Compassion Scale (SCS), and Perceived Stress Questionnaire (PSQ). The findings of this study demonstrated that caregivers who participated in the MBDC program did show statistically significant changes in their self-compassion scores and perceived stress level scores such as increased levels in self-compassion and decreased levels in stress. Although, no statistically significant differences in mindfulness scores occurred between Time 1 and Time 2, specific questions on the mindfulness questionnaire did show small increases. The researcher can conclude that caregivers who participated in the MBDC program showed an increase in self-compassion and decrease in stress level over time.