How can yoga help me manage the stress of caregiving for a person with Alzheimer's disease?
Answer From Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D.
Yoga might have benefits for caregivers of people with Alzheimer's disease or another type of dementia.
Yoga brings together physical and mental disciplines to help you achieve peacefulness of body and mind. The practice focuses on postures (poses), breathing techniques and meditation.
While research on the benefits of yoga for caregivers is limited, a small number of studies suggest that yoga might:
- Improve depression symptoms
- Lower anxiety levels
- Reduce stress
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve the ability to cope
One study found that caregivers who participated in an eight-week yoga group experienced physical and emotional benefits, which helped lessen any guilt they felt for taking time for themselves. Participants also reported feeling peaceful and relaxed during their yoga practice.
There are many different types and styles of yoga, and some are more intense and vigorous than others. Check with your doctor before starting yoga, especially if you have any health conditions. If finding time to attend a yoga class is challenging, seek out a mix of in-person and online classes.
June 09, 2020
Jonathan Graff-Radford, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Fishbein DB, et al. Overview of yoga. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Feb. 6, 2020.
- Danucalov MAD, et al. A yoga and compassion meditation program reduces stress in familial caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013; doi:10.1111/ggi.12675.
- Van Puymbroeck M, et al. A phase 1 feasibility study of yoga on the physical health and coping of informal caregivers. 2007; doi:10.1093/ecam/nem075.