Care partners first learn to incorporate mindfulness practices into various care situations. Mindful presence or the ability to be fully present for the reality of the moment has been scientifically proven to be an effective stress-reduction strategy. It is now taught in many hospitals, clinics, and other health organizations throughout the world. For care partners, it can be an excellent way to deal with stress. Mindful presence is also critical in terms of engaging in the present moment, which is where the person with memory care needs is most likely to engage.
Through a combination of lectures, group sharing, experiential exercises and role plays, care partners learn to adopt an experiential view of dementia. In the experiential model, the responsibility falls on the care partners to adapt to the person’s changing experience of the world inside and around them. Knowing all they can about the person to better serve him or her. Being aware of the natural tendency to position the person as less competent than they really are. Making sure to meet that person’s 5 universal emotional needs. And seeing all disruptive behaviors as expressions of the person’s unmet needs.
Participants are taught about the need to develop a mindful care community and strategies to develop such a community. Although simple, mindfulness practice is hard to sustain without the support of a community of practice. Also, in order to be successful, dementia care requires the involvement of a whole care partnering team. A mindful care community can be as small as two people.