October 7, 2016

Wellness Initiative

  • Image above: Caregivers practicing tai chi at the Caregiver Wellness Day retreat. 

    Live Well

    Wellness is nurturing balance in our lives: mind, body and spirit. It is practicing the ability to bring calm awareness to all that we do. Our goal is to help you Live Well in a life that includes memory loss and care partnering. At the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center, wellness is found in our program offerings and is an integral part of our vision as a center.

    “When we give ourselves compassion, we are opening our hearts in a way that can transform our lives.”
    – Kristin Neff

    We hear the words take care of yourself all the time. We all know it is essential for health and personal well being, so, what does this really mean? Our wellness programs are designed with this very question in mind. What do you need to nurture balance in your life? As we work towards a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, we aim to champion and celebrate the amazing courage of our clients who do their best to live well with memory loss every day. They have inspired us and, in turn, we continue to create wellness programs where individuals can receive the support and information they need to support their desire to LIVE WELL.

    For more about the Center’s Wellness Initiative, watch this short video:

  • Image above: A caregiver participating in one of the activities at the Caregiver Wellness Day retreat.

    Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our in-person wellness programs are meeting virtually. Registration is required for the virtual log-in information.

    About our Programs

    Our Wellness Initiative offers a variety of programs to support the well being of caregivers and people living with early-stage memory loss. Click the options below to learn more about each of our programs and to register.

    If you have any additional questions regarding programs, or which program might be the best fit for you, please contact us at 734-936-8803.

    Programs fill to capacity quickly, so please reserve your seat by completing the accompanying registration form.

    Catching Your Breath

    Catching Your Breath is a free monthly program for learning and practicing stress resilience skills for continued health, balance and well-being for caregivers caring for someone with memory loss.

    These programs are specifically for family care partners. We currently do not offer our programs to professional caregivers.

    You may choose to attend one or all sessions. The program varies each month and newcomers are welcome at any time.

    For the time being, Catching Your Breath will be offered virtually.

    Registration is required to receive the virtual log-in details here.

    Caregiver Wellness Day Retreats

    Caregiver Wellness Day Retreats are half-day wellness, creativity and social retreats for care partners of adults living with memory loss at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. These retreats typically take place twice per year - once in the spring and once in the fall.

    There are currently no retreats on the calendar. Please check back for details.

    Mindfulness-Based Dementia Care

    Join us for an 8-week program designed for family caregivers of adults living with memory loss. Learn how the practice of mindfulness can help you cope with the challenges and stresses of dementia care.

    This course is led by Laura Rice-Oeschger, LMSW. Laura has extensive professional training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Dementia Care (MBDC). She is a founding member of the Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness and serves as CEO for the Presence Care Project where she trains new facilitators in Mindfulness-based Dementia Care (MBDC).

    Classes meet once weekly and weekly attendance is required for course participation. Some practice between classes is also expected. You will be rewarded with a transformative experience to help sustain you over your care journey.

    For the time being, Mindfulness-based Dementia Care will be offered virtually.

    Registration is required to receive the virtual log-in details here.

    With generous support from Center donors, we are able to offer this program free of charge. An encouraged donation of $50 will help cover the cost of materials. Any donation amount is appreciated.

    Mitten Minds Support Group

    The Mitten Minds support group is specifically for those with an early diagnosis of dementia or Mild Cognitive Impairment, providing participants a space to connect with others on a similar journey. For the time being, the group is held virtually. All sessions are the third Tuesday of the month from 3:00 – 4:00PM. Registration is required to receive the virtual log-in details. The program is FREE and newcomers are welcome at any time. The program takes place year-round.

    If this is your first time attending, please email Ashley Miller at acmil@med.umich.edu before attending.

    If you have any questions about the Mitten Minds programs, please do not hesitate to reach out to program facilitator, Ashley Miller, MPH at acmil@med.umich.edu or 734-615-8293.

    Registration is required here.

    Mitten Minds Dementia Education Series

    The Mitten Minds Dementia Education Series is a six week program that takes place twice each year. It is available to individuals who are newly diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment or are in the earlier stages of a dementia. The goal of the series is to provide important information to individuals who have been recently diagnosed, provide a space for questions to be answered, and to connect to other resources and support services available.

    Each session is presented by an expert in the field of dementia care and research and are facilitated by Ashley Miller, MPH. A loved-one may accompany you to these education sessions.

    More information about the Mitten Minds program can be found in the program flyer here.

    Registration is now closed for the spring 2021 series. Registration for fall 2021 can be found here once it is available.

    If you have any questions about the Mitten Minds programs, please do not hesitate to reach out to program facilitator, Ashley Miller, MPH at acmil@med.umich.edu.

    Have a Seat - Mindfulness Practice
    Have a Seat is a FREE weekly, online, guided meditation program led by Laura Rice-Oeschger, LMSW. There is no registration required, just use the link below to join the meditation each Thursday at noon.
    To participate in this program, all you need is a computer to join via the web link or a phone to listen to the guided meditation. We ask that you keep yourself muted for the entire program and just listen to the meditation. If you have technical difficulties, please use the chat feature to ask questions and we will try to assist you.
    What do you need?
    • You and the ability to log into Zoom via phone, tablet, or computer
    • A comfortable seat — chair, couch, or bed
    • A blanket if you want to be extra cozy
    • A cushion or support for your back (sitting against a wall is helpful)
    • Headphones are recommended if your environment has background noise
    If you'd like to join the call by phone, please dial 1-646-558-8656 at noon. To join by Zoom, use the information here.

    Meeting ID: 975 5736 2948

    Passcode: 128653

  • There are a variety of ways you can stay in touch with our Wellness Initiative. We offer monthly e-newsletters that share about upcoming Wellness programs, caregiver-specific research studies, and more. For this, and more see the links below.

    Wellness Initiative on Social Media

    You can find our Center on a variety of social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter. However, the Wellness Initiative occupies its primary channel on Instagram. Here, we share caregiver resources, inspiration for those who may be on their dementia journey, and more. If you’d like to follow Laura Rice-Oeschger, LMSW, Director of the Wellness Initiative, you can also do so on Twitter here.


    Wellness Initiative Monthly E-Newsletter & Weekly Reminders

    You can stay in the loop of Wellness Initiative activities by subscribing to our e-newsletters here. Publications include a monthly Wellness e-newsletter and a weekly reminder for our Have a Seat meditation program.

    Subscribe at alzheimers.med.umich.edu/subscribe/

    Previous issues of our monthly Wellness e-newsletter are below for your reading.

  • Wellness Resources for Self Care

    "Listen To This First" Podcast

    Our Wellness Initiative Lead, Laura Rice-Oeschger, LMSW put together a podcast, specifically for those new to mindfulness practices. Listen on Simplecast here or on iTunes here

    Guided Meditations

    THRIVE Network

    The THRIVE Network is a collaboration between the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of Michigan, Michigan State University Extension and College of Human Medicine, and Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology that supports educating dementia caregivers on wellness and self-care.

    Tailoring Healthy Resources for In-Person & Virtual Education (THRIVE) aims to:

    • Formalize a network for existing agencies to meet the needs of caregivers in Michigan
    • Establish wellness programming to connect caregivers throughout their journey
    • Sustain and expand wellness education through Michigan State University Extension services which operate in all 83 Michigan counties

    For more information about THRIVE, visit www.thrivenetworkmi.org or take a look at the one page information flyer here.

    Headspace Meditations for Michigan Residents

    Now more than ever, it’s important to take care of yourselves and one another while each of us stays home and stays safe. Governor Whitmer and Headspace are offering a special collection of meditation, sleep, and movement exercises designed to help you keep a strong and healthy mind in the midst of this global health crisis. Access these meditations here.

    Weekly Virtual Mindfulness Meditations

    There are several local groups that offer weekly group meditation practices online. The Ann Arbor Center for Mindfulness offers a variety of dates and times here and the Beaumont Center for Mindfulness offers other dates and times here.

    National Mindfulness Resources

    Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn is a professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Kabat-Zinn leads a video on mindfulness, healing, and wisdom in the time of COVID-19 here.

    Dr. Rick Hanson is psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. He has collected several thoughts and videos on being resilient during the Coronavirus. Access these resources here.

    Sharon Salzberg is a national leader in the mindfulness space and a New York Times best-selling author. Sharon provides several COVID-19 resources, including her own "Survival Guide" and a Loving Kindness Practice here.

    Lastly, Drs. Chris Germer and Kristin Neff, co-founders of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion in San Diego, provide an article on how self-compassion can help us and others during this trying time. Find the full article here.