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Integrating mindful self-compassion into a dementia caregivers support program

1 January 2016


Dementia is anticipated to grow exponentially as the population ages, and a majority of dementia care will be provided by family or informal caregivers. Dementia caregivers are at a high risk for developing caregiver burden, which can negatively impact their physical and psychological health, as well as the care recipients’ overall well-being. Depression often occurs co-morbidly with caregiver burden. Currently there are separate treatments aimed to address caregiver burden (i.e., REACH-VA for caregiver support) and depression (i.e., Mindful Self-Compassion), but there is not a treatment that addresses both issues. The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate how to integrate mindful self-compassion into the existing REACH-VA protocol to address caregiver burden and depression in a holistic and comprehensive manner. Through this dissertation, I have examined the literature on dementia, caregivers, caregiver burden, mindfulness, and self-compassion. The product of this literature review is a proposed treatment manual, which utilizes the interventions from the REACH-VA and mindful self-compassion programs. The treatment consists of two assessment sessions (pre-and post-treatment) and twelve treatment sessions, which alternate settings between individual in-home and group therapy structure. Necessary worksheets for client and therapist are included at the end of the treatment manual. The limitations of this project and directions for future research are also explored.


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