Does regular meditation relieve the burden of stress on people caring for dementia sufferers? This question is the focus of a new research project led by the University of South Australia, in collaboration with RMIT University, the Adelaide Transcendental Meditation Centre and Adelaide Hills Council.
There are more than 266,000 Australians suffering from dementia. Moreover, this figure is expected to rise sharply as population ages. Yet the well-being of those who care for dementia patients has not received much attention so far.
The researchers will now be looking at whether Transcendental Meditation and healthy lifestyle education can help to reduce stress levels and improve the quality of life for caregivers.
“On top of the stress, carers often experience social isolation, sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety and a reduced quality of life,” explains Dr Matthew Leach from University of South Australia. “Previous research from overseas has shown relaxation therapies, such as meditation, may be effective in reducing stress and anxiety. What we’re hoping to discover is whether Transcendental Meditation or healthy lifestyle education can improve quality of life and psychological function in dementia caregivers.”
The researchers are recruiting for the study now. During the 24-week study, carers will receive instruction on the Transcendental Meditation technique or complete a healthy lifestyle program, and will be required to complete several brief questionnaires and basic psychological tests.
If interested in participating in the study, please visit the UniSA web page.