Providing care for a frail older adult is a stressful experience that may affect psychological and physical health of caregivers. When caregivers are elderly and the care recipient suffers from a neurocognitive disorder such as dementia, the burden and resulting stress is greatly increased. Many interventions involving support groups, counseling, and education have been implemented to help caregivers. Interventions that actively engage the caregiver in skill acquisition aimed at regulating their own behavior have been shown to result in significant improvements in caregiver burden and depressive symptoms. The proposed study aims to ascertain whether MBSR is an effective intervention for a population of elderly family caregivers of persons with neurocognitive disorders by comparing Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) with a similarly structured intervention that focuses on Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). Questions include: Does MBSR decrease perceived levels of stress and depressive symptoms and increase perceived levels of mindfulness, self-compassion and general health status to a great extent when compared to active of passive controls.

Roisin O’Donnell

University of Arizona