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What is "Mindfulness Exercises for Dementia" About?

Eleanor Silverberg has written a very practical guide that fills a gap in the area

of mindfulness – a practice that has become very popular in recent years.

~ Lisa Loiselle, Associate Director, Murray Alzheimer Research and

Education Program, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON Canada

Mindfulness practice has been widely accepted in mainstream healthcare showing positive evidence based outcomes for treating a variety of physical and mental conditions in the general population. Rooted in Eastern Spiritual Tradition, this self-compassionate practice includes a variety of meditations, reflection and paying attention without judgment to the present moment. Each traditional exercise can be quite lengthy spanning 30 minutes or more. Participants are expected to self regulate during the exercises.

People in the moderate stage of dementia, due to their cognitive deficits, can not participate in traditional mindfulness. In the book, Mindfulness Exercises for Dementia: A Guide for Professionals and Family Caregivers, modifications have been made to accommodate the cognitive deficits so that people in this population are given the potential to also benefit. A major emphasis is placed on the calming, energizing elements while enhancing the basic premise of paying attention to what is happening in the present moment.

The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate


~ Jon Kabat-Zinn,

Founder, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program (MBSR)

A 4-month pilot project was conducted to create specific-type exercises to modify the practice so that people with moderate stage dementia can participate. The engaging exercises are good for any cognitive level, therefore serving also as a bonding and calming activity for caregivers to take part in with their family member who has dementia. Shorter exercises, brief guided meditations, creating ambience along with facilitation skill are some of the fixings that went into the mix of bringing mindfulness practice to people with dementia at all cognitive levels. The book serves as a guide including online resources.

Would you consider mindfulness for your clients/patients/family members with dementia? Like chicken soup, it couldn't hurt!

For further details,

go to Mindfulness Exercises for Dementia on

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