I began my career as a nurse immunologist specializing in renal failure with an interest in psychoneuroimmunology (how the mind affects the body). I knew stress was playing a role, not only in the lives of patients, but also their caregivers. I wanted to help this population so I came up with an idea of developing an intervention to help this highly stressed group of people. After some preliminary research, I decided to focus on caregivers of people with dementia.
In 1995 we started our research at the University of New Mexico doing biofeedback and a one-on-one relaxation intervention for family caregivers of people with dementia. That project was a success and it grew and progressed over the years. In the fall of 2000, I moved to San Antonio, TX with the hope of making a difference in the lives of family caregivers. Over time the current Stress-Busting Program for Family Caregivers was developed.
The Stress-Busting Program for Family Caregivers has proven to be an effective intervention for family caregivers of people with dementia. It is a multi-component program that facilitates education, problem-solving, support, and stress management in a group setting. The SBP encompasses both (1) the intervention components that demonstrate benefit to caregivers and (2) has a program structure that is readily reproducible in community settings. It is an ideal program to be distributed to community organizations. Ultimately the program can be self-sustaining in community settings. Considering the growing numbers of caregivers, expansion of this intervention program to larger numbers of caregivers through widespread community dissemination is critical and of utmost urgency.
If you are a professional or family caregiver, please take a moment to look around our site and contact us if you have any questions. We are here to help you.
If you are an organization looking to start a Stress-Busting Program in your area, please contact us for more information. We think you will be happy with the outcome.
Sharon L. Lewis