Mindfulness-based stress reduction in middle-aged and older adults with memory complaints

Study suggests that Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is feasible and well received among older individuals with cognitive complaints.

Objectives: In a rapidly aging world population, an increasingly large group faces age-related decline in cognitive functioning. Cognitive complaints of older adults are often related to worries and concerns associated with age-related functional decline. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) can successfully target stress, worry and ruminative thinking, but the applicability of this method in middle-aged and older adults with memory complaints is unclear.

Method: Patients of a university hospital memory clinic (n = 13), aged 45–85 years, with memory complaints but no diagnosis of cognitive disorder, participated in a standard 8-week MBSR program, consisting of weekly group meetings and a one-day silent retreat. After completion, semi-structured qualitative interviews were conducted. Questionnaires (administered before, one week after and five weeks after the intervention) assessed quality of life, psychological distress (stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms), mindfulness, self-compassion, and subjective memory functioning. Neurocognitive functioning was assessed online, before and after the intervention.

Results: The qualitative analysis showed positive effects of the training (e.g. increased serenity), many participants worrying less about memory complaints. The self-reported measures were in line with the results of the qualitative analysis.

Conclusion: This exploratory mixed-methods study suggests that MBSR is feasible and well received among older individuals with cognitive complaints.

Full reference:  Lotte Berk et al. | Mindfulness-based stress reduction in middle-aged and older adults with memory complaints: a mixed-methods study  | Aging & Mental Health |  Published online: 19 Jul 2017

 

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