Program Information

The multi-component Stress-Busting Program improves the lives of family caregivers through:


• Recognized by AoA for Title IIID Highest-Level Criteria for Evidence-Based Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Programs
• Meets AoA requirements for Title IIIE Caregiver Education and Training
• Recognized by the VA as an evidence-supported program
• Offered in community settings with master trainers and group facilitators

The Stress-Busting Program is designed to improve the quality of life for family caregivers who provide care for persons with Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementias by helping them manage their stress and cope better with their lives. The Stress-Busting Program was developed through research conducted by Dr. Sharon Lewis at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Caregivers who have participated in this program have reported significantly lowered stress, depression, and anxiety as well as improved quality of life. They have also reported improvement in their ability to relax and manage stress and an increase in their self-esteem.

Stress-Busting for Caregivers

The Program
The program consists of 90-minute sessions that occur once per week for 9 weeks. The program is conducted in a small group setting with two trained group facilitators. Participants are provided with many resources including a handbook covering class material, a meditation CD, and a relaxation strategies DVD.

Content includes the topics of: Stress Management techniques taught:
Stress and Relaxation Relaxation breathing
Coping with Stress Guided imagery
Dealing with Challenging Meditation
Behaviors Grief, Loss, and Depression Art
Positive Thinking Music
Talking Time for Yourself Journaling
Choosing a Path to Wellness  

Training Availability
The program is delivered using a Master Trainer/group facilitator model. Master Training is available to organizations that purchase a license and pay Master Training fees. Master Training sessions are conducted in San Antonio, Texas, over a two-day period. Training can also be conducted outside of San Antonio for groups of 8-10, but arrangements must be made separately.

Program materials for caregivers to participate in the program (handbooks, CDs, and DVDs) are available for purchase separately. Detailed cost information is available by clicking here.

The Master Trainer session lasts two days and includes:

  • Subject matter content
  • Role of the facilitators
  • How to administer the program
  • How to train group facilitators

At the end of the training, persons who successfully demonstrate knowledge and ability to facilitate groups will:

  • Acquire provisional certification as Stress-Busting Program Master Trainers
  • Be qualified to facilitate Stress-Busting Program groups
  • Be qualified to train group facilitators

Master trainer certification will remain with the licensing organization. This means that if a master trainer leaves the licensed organization, he or she will no longer have Stress-Busting Program certification to hold groups or train facilitators.

Program Credibility

  1. From 1996 – 2010, the Stress-Busting Program was developed through funding from the National Institutes of Health. From 2010 – 2012 the Stress-Busting Program was disseminated with funding from the Administration on Aging in partnership with WellMed Charitable Foundation into the community in central and south Texas using a “master trainer – lay leader” model.
  2. The Stress-Busting Program is recognized by the Administration on Aging as the highest-level criteria for an evidence-based program and by the VA as evidence-supported program.
  3. The Stress-Busting Program is written into the Texas State Plan on Alzheimer’s Disease under Goal IV. ***DADS website: *** Caregivers will experience enhanced levels of support through improved access to Alzheimer’s disease/dementia care information and services.
  4. Lewis, SL, Miner-Williams, DM, et al. 2009. “A Stress-Busting Program for Family Caregivers.” Rehabilitation Nursing. Vol 34, No. 4; July/August.

“The [Community] Stress-Busting Program for Family Caregivers has been offered through the Area Agency of Aging of the Coastal Bend for the past year. The program has been well received in the community and it has had a powerful effect on the lives of caregivers who we serve.” – Betty Lamb, Director of the Area Agency on Aging of the Coastal Bend

For more information contact the WellMed Charitable Foundation at or by calling 866-390-6491.

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