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Mindfulness Practice With the Frail Elderly and Their Caregivers: Changing the Practitioner-Patient Relationship

McBee, Lucia CSW, MPH

Geriatric Rehabilitation for the Soul

Physical frailty, chronic pain, and stress often diminish quality of life in the elderly and their caregivers. Health care professionals working with the frail elderly also frequently struggle with feelings of helplessness and discomfort in the presence of this illness and despair. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program that has helped patients with a variety of conditions improve their health and quality of life. MBSR and mindfulness practice cultivate an awareness of life, moment by moment, and allow both patient and practitioner to face illness, pain, and loss with presence and equanimity.

Department of Social Work, Jewish Home and Hospital, New York, NY.

The author thanks Victoria Weill-Hagai for her editorial advice; Saki Santorelli, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and all of the teachers at the Center for Mindfulness for their vision and inspiration; and her Sanga (a group sharing a spiritual path) for their contributions on mindfulness teaching and practice.

Corresponding author: Lucia McBee, CSW, MPH, Department of Social Work, Jewish Home and Hospital, 120W 106 St, New York, NY 10025 (e-mail:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.