First off, let’s get our definitions straight. Mindfulness is the term given to “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us”. That may sound a bit vague, but looking at mindfulness simply, it does what it says on the tin: it’s the practices involved in filling your mind with an uncluttered thought. It takes many shapes but is not some hugely exotic and obscure ideology; it’s a natural state that is enhanced by a series of techniques, for example meditation. Mindfulness meditation is a popular form of meditation where a way of breathing and yoga can help reduce stress.
Mindfulness may have been first developed by Buddhists around 2000 years ago, but it is becoming increasingly popular in modern society as a way to relax, and the evidence is everywhere. Neuroscientists are developing research to prove the scientific benefit of mindful practices, to help convince the resisting sceptics. A google search on mindfulness produces over 5 million results. Global leaders received guidance in meditation from actress Goldie Hawn at the 2014 World Economic Forum.[/vc_column_text]
Taking a different approach to mindfulness and social care analyses how these practices can help those in care, and here is where the potential truly lies. Two thirds of people living in care homes have dementia, which can be very stress inducing for both the family and patient. Adapting mindfulness techniques for people suffering from dementia is being recognised as a way for patients to clear their minds and help focus their memories on singular thoughts. It helps people stop worrying about their forgetfulness or confusion and be in the moment. In recent years, funding and structural support for mindfulness is beginning to be more common, with £3937 from the Accessibility Fund 2016 going to the Oxford Dementia Programme to help introduce mindful practices to more care homes.
We are not saying mindfulness can cure all your stresses or fix a trauma in your life, however the evidence is hard to deny that bringing mindfulness into your life will help promote better mental health and wellbeing. If we can find a way to encourage this in care homes across the UK then we could find a way to care for both those vulnerable members of society, like dementia patients; and the brilliant care workers who face challenging situations daily.[/vc_column_text]