Mindfulness Ensures Peace of Mind Even for Those with Dementia

Mindfulness Ensures Peace of Mind Even for Those with Dementia

June 15, 2023 | Health

Mindfulness Ensures Peace of Mind Even for Those with Dementia

Mindfulness is a state of mind that involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. It can be cultivated through various techniques and exercises, and with regular practice, one can develop greater mindfulness.

Apart from formal meditation, one can incorporate mindfulness into daily activities. For example, paying full attention while eating, walking, or doing household chores. The idea is to bring one’s awareness fully to the present moment, engaging the senses and observing thoughts and emotions without rationalization. This state of mind allows people to find peace in the present moment rather than becoming fixated on every detail, which make anyone feel overwhelmed.

The Impact of Dementia on Mindfulness

Alzheimer’s and dementia can have various negative effects on mindfulness that can include:

  • Impaired attention that creates difficulties in sustaining attention and focusing on the present moment. Individuals with dementia may struggle to stay engaged in mindfulness practices that require sustained attention, such as meditation.
  • Memory challenges make it difficult for individuals to recall instructions or remember the techniques involved in mindfulness practices, hindering their ability to engage in mindfulness effectively.
  • Reduced self-awareness inhibits one’s ability to recognize and observe thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations – all are essential components of mindfulness.
  • Emotional disturbances that include mood swings, apathy, anxiety, or depression can interfere with one’s ability to cultivate the calmness that mindfulness offers.

 Mindfulness practices can help loved ones feel more comfortable conveying their feelings and confiding in others. Working on listening skills can help individuals realize what difficulties they are experiencing and how to resolve them.   

Mindfulness also helps to better verbal and nonverbal communication. Learning to use facial expressions and understand body language and tone of voice alleviates talking freely from being a trying task.  

As we use this method to help our loved ones facing dementia, we must approach any situation with patience and understanding of the debilitation. This enables those who are suffering from the afflication to engage in conversation without feeling judged and ultimately allows them to feel better about being able to express themselves.

Boosting Cognitive Function

Loved ones with dementia can often have a hard time with self-regulation. Aside from experiencing declining memory patterns, the ability to focus and handle multiple tasks can cause strain. Encouraging others to try simple mindful exercises improves awareness and these functions. 

As mentioned, it can sometimes be difficult to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. Focusing on one thing at a time helps to free up mental space. It’s essential to be patient so that they feel comfortable. A sense of accomplishment instills a feeling of purpose and confidence. 

While puzzles are a fun, relaxing activity, they are another mindful approach. Because they require attention to detail, people can strengthen their focus while having fun and feeling rewarded. Arts and crafts, looking through magazines or pictures, among other easy activities, can be just as stimulating. 

Protect One’s Well-being

The cognitive changes loved ones with dementia experience can lead to overwhelming emotions. Depression can be an uphill battle for our loved ones, but mindfulness can ease this burden. 

Depression and anxiety are linked to other challenges associated with dementia, such as difficulty learning and remembering—specific mindful treatment options aid such challenges in becoming more manageable.

Breathing exercises are simple. Especially during stressful moments, mindful breathing returns people to serenity. Guide loved ones by deep inhaling, briefly holding their breath, and exhaling. Repeating this is a relaxing way to control emotions and return to the present moment.

Often, fresh air is exactly what is needed. If walking or sitting outside is comfortable, it can help people to self-reflect. Being in an open space with sunlight rather than a confined space allows individuals to connect with themselves.  

Mindfulness is for everyone, no matter what their abilities are. Our loved ones can make peace with their challenges by investing in mindful, manageable activities. It helps to find clarity when there may be some unknowns.

Providing person-centered care, the Pathways at Warrington Community finds value in helping residents achieve tranquility. Pathways is proud to promise high-quality living and care. Visit Pathways to learn more about putting a loved one in promising hands.

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