In the world of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, stress, depression and anxiety make an already difficult situation nearly impossible to cope with. Dementia patients can become agitated, making it difficult to physically care for them. Long term caregivers, whether family members or professionals, can suffer from burnout. It seems that there is no end to the tragic consequences of dementia and its related diseases. However, there is some good news to consider. Recently reported studies show that a rather unexpected modality may help to ease stress, depression and anxiety – the ancient healing practice of Reiki.
Reiki is based on the principle that the practitioner can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, activating the natural healing processes of the patient’s body to restore physical and emotional well-being. A recent article in PsychCentral reports “…scientific validation of Reiki’s effectiveness comes from numerous studies, showing that Reiki and other touch and energy therapies significantly aid dementia patients and their caregivers in several areas.”
The journal reports that in one experiment, one group of patients received four weeks of Reiki treatments while a control group received none. The Reiki recipients showed statistically significant increases in mental functioning, memory and behavior after Reiki treatment.
Perhaps one of the most important applications of Reiki is in treating pain suffered by dementia patients. The disease quickly makes patients non-verbal, robbing them of the ability to express their pain. Instead, they become agitated or aggressive, depressed or anxious. Caregivers are left trying to untangle the source of the agitation, and to discover if and where there is pain. Now it appears that Reiki may reduce pain, while simultaneously reducing depression and anxiety. It would appear that Reiki is the best of human touch, pain relief and comfort.
The article in PsychCentral reports that “Reiki studies apply to caregivers as well as patients. Twenty percent of family caregivers suffer from depression, twice the rate of the general population.” They can certainly benefit from Reiki therapy, and professional caregivers such as nurses have known this for many years. They use it for self-care because it is highly effective in curbing stress and promoting self-healing. Many hospitals offer free Reiki sessions for nurses because of its great benefits in helping to prevent burnout.
It is important to continue to find ways to reduce stress, depression and anxiety for patients and caregivers. Sevens Residential and Companionship programs recognize this. We know that any strategies to improve moods and bring calm to the living environment are essential. Any support that can prevent caregiver burnout and “compassion fatigue” should be readily available.
That is why Sevens Home Care will provide support for you and your family, helping you to understand the diseases of dementia while keeping your loved one at home. We primarily offer services in the individual’s private residence but will also provide one-on-one support for your loved one in assisted living and rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities, hospices and hospitals. We go wherever and whenever a patient needs care on a regular schedule, weekly or monthly visits or for one-time respite care.
When it comes time for your loved one to be safe in a secure, memory centered facility, Sevens Residential Memory Care provides a safe, enriching environment. Our innovative house specializes in memory care including Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and is located in a residential neighborhood in Lakewood, CO. Accommodating only 12 residents and two full-time care partners, our model offers highly personalized supervision and a supportive community that fosters individual freedom.
To learn more about Sevens Home Care, call 303-470-1921. To learn more about Sevens Residential Memory Care and to schedule a tour call 720-477-1727.