Over the past few generations, Eastern philosophies have found their way into Western culture. Ancient practices such as meditation and yoga have become regular parts of many people’s daily lives because of the positive effects they have on the body and mind. For seniors, meditation can be incredibly beneficial, particularly as it delivers one to a place of mindfulness and peacefulness.
The following are a few reasons many seniors find meditation advantageous:
1. Improving Longevity
Stress and worry can have negative effects on a person’s health. Alternatively, alleviating stress and learning how to relax and be present in the mind can add years to a person’s life. In a study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, evidence was presented, which suggests elderly people who practice transcendental meditation and mindfulness training may benefit from:
* Sustained cognitive abilities
* Improved mental health
* Normalized blood pressure
* Overall increased longevity
In fact, the study found that, after three years, 100% of participants who practiced meditation and mindfulness training survived, whereas 87.5% of those who didn’t partake in these activities survived, suggesting meditation can positively affect a person’s lifespan.
2. Decreasing Loneliness
Loneliness is an ever-present problem for many seniors. It can be difficult for our aging loved ones to find commonality with others, often leaving them feeling isolated and alone. When it comes to senior mental health, it is important that elderly people have a community where they can feel connected. A simple once-per-week meditation regimen can make all the difference in the world for seniors who are struggling with loneliness, providing them with the benefits of mindfulness and a group of people with whom they share a connection.
3. Reducing Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Dementia
Studies have shown that guided meditation can slow shrinkage of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that’s responsible for memory, which means a reduction in its size can negatively affect senior health. According to Prevention Magazine, “MRIs showed improved functional connectivity in the default mode network (translation: the part of your brain that never shuts down activity)” just eight weeks after a group of adults ages 55 to 90 began participating in guided meditation and weekly mindfulness check-ins. Meditation is a free practice that can free your loved one’s mind. There are no judgments, no reason to feel self-conscious, and no pre-requisites to take part in this practice. One simply needs to have a quiet environment and an open mind that’s willing to welcome peace and presence.