In many countries, family members are essential in caring for people with dementia. Although caring for a dependent loved one is often accompanied by positive experiences, it can also lead to higher levels of emotional difficulties. As such, establishing effective evidence-based psychological support that can help caregivers manage challenging situations more effectively and improve the quality of life of care recipients is critically important.
This study aims to test the feasibility of a new form of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), with dementia carers. ACT helps carers to explore what is truly important and meaningful to them in their life and engage in activities that serve their valued ends. ACT also helps individuals to use mindfulness skills as an effective way to deal with psychological barriers they encounter as they attempt to pursue their personal life goals (For example; critical self-thoughts).
To test the feasibility of ACT for dementia carers by providing data on methodological and procedural practicalities needed to design a future randomised control trial.
Family dementia carers experiencing depressive symptoms will be invited to the study. Carers will receive eight 90-minute sessions of individually tailored ACT on a weekly basis. Three booster sessions will be delivered at one month, three months, and six months after the completion of the final therapy session. The booster session will include reviewing skills learned, identify new skills that may further help them cope with caregiving, and making plans for the continued practice of these skills.
Feasibility and clinical outcome measures such as attrition rates, response rates to questionnaires, time needed to collect and analyse data, characteristics of proposed outcome measures and likely intervention effect size will be investigated. The newly gained knowledge from this study may lead to the development of acceptance-, mindfulness and value-based interventions specifically directed at carer depression and anxiety.