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Meditation for seniors using mindfulness techniques may help elders to find peace within themselves and improved memory with daily practice meditating.
Since meditation is a mental exercise that trains the mind to remain focused and aware of “drifting” into unwanted thought patterns, meditating regularly can actually improve a senior’s cognitive abilities involving concentration, memory, and attention.
Research indicates that mindfulness for the elderly is an encouraging intervention that is well worth introducing. It is suitable for high functioning clients.
Here’s how you can help someone you love using meditation.
Have you ever heard someone talking about having a “senior moment”?
This usually refers to someone being forgetful or acting in some other way that is linked to impaired mental functioning. The term came to be no doubt because human beings equate a weaker mind with old age.
Science backs up this belief. As we age, especially as human beings progress past the age of 50, research shows us that our mental functioning begins to decline. However, this is far from an unavoidable situation.
Seniors that meditate and practice mindfulness can experience dramatic and positive improvements in their mental abilities.
Meditation for Seniors – Improves Mood and Emotional Control
Meditation for seniors benefits can help those over 50 reclaim much of their mental functioning, especially if senior moments are popping up more frequently.
• Meditation stimulates the “smile and is happy” area of the brain. Your prefrontal cortex is the “feel good” region of your brain. As you age, you naturally activate this region less frequently, which is why seniors often experience depression and higher levels of stress and anxiety than they did when they were younger. Meditation practice leads to less stress and depression, as well as a greater sense of happiness.
• Meditation improves mood and emotional control. A study out of Thailand supplemented walking therapy with meditation for seniors. Those who meditated showed more positive moods regularly than those who did not. A reduction in depression and improvement in functional fitness was also noted.
• Regular meditation improves memory. Meditation stimulates the hippocampus, as well as the frontal brain lobe. This means better short and long-term memory recall for seniors. The ability to store and access newly made memories is also enhanced.
• Meditation for seniors improves senior relationships. Because of the stress-relieving, mood-improving nature of mindfulness and other meditation practices, seniors enjoy better relationships with their caregivers, family members, and others in the senior community.
A study out of UCLA shows that an 8-week meditation program “… significantly decreased rates of self-reported loneliness.” Depression from a perceived state of loneliness is a significant concern for seniors, especially those over 70 and 80 years of age.
Meditation For Seniors: You’re Never Too Old To Learn Tai Chi
Seniors require exercise just as much as anyone else, but some activities can be tough on aging bodies. That’s where Tai Chi comes to the rescue. Tai Chi is an effective workout anyone can enjoy by mastering a few simple basics.
The literal translation of Tai Chi is supreme ultimate boxing. There are several theories about how Tai Chi got started, but it certainly has its origins in martial arts. It’s a low-impact workout that you can do alone or in groups with no special equipment. And you can do it anywhere!
There are several major styles of Tai Chi that all stress balance and harmony. Yang and Sun are good choices for beginners and they will give you a lot of room to learn and grow.
The Benefits of Meditation For Seniors And Tai Chi
1. Develop correct posture. Tai Chi teaches proper alignment so you’ll instantly look better and have better posture. It also relieves backaches and helps you to better digest your food.
2. Enjoy a whole body workout. Engaging your whole body burns more calories and massages your vital organs. Build strength and flexibility and slow down bone loss.
3. Enhance your coordination. All that swaying and shifting your weight will give you a greater sense of balance. Your daily activities will become easier and you’ll reduce your risk for accidental falls and injuries.
4. Brighten your mood. The dance-like steps in Tai Chi are a proven antidote for stress. Let your mind slow down and relax. Concentrating on coordinating your feet and hands will help you let go of your worries and live in the present moment.
5. Talk with your doctor. Many studies show that Tai Chi can help manage conditions like arthritis, high blood pressure, and chronic pain. Ask your physician if it’s right for you.
The Basics of Tai Chi
1. Get into position. Lift your head and tuck your pelvis. Draw your shoulders down and back. As your chest opens, you automatically start breathing deeper.
2. Work on both sides. Repeat all movements on the left and right sides of your body. Most beginners will discover that they have a dominant side, but you can enhance your symmetry with practice.
3. Breathe from your abdomen. Inhale from your lower abdomen, drawing air upwards through your middle abdomen and chest. Exhale in reverse. Match your breath to your movement, but avoid holding your breath.
4. Warm-up and cool down. Warm-ups will put you in a more receptive frame of mind. Cooldowns relieve any discomfort that may build up in your muscles or joints.
5. Boost your energy. Traditional beliefs about Tai Chi credit it for getting your Qi, or life energy, flowing. Try massaging the pressure point in your palms after your warm-up and before your regular session.
6. Practice standing meditation. Some Tai Chi routines include a meditation that you can perform while standing up. Mastering Tai Chi will give you a meditation technique you can use anytime during the day to generate peace and contentment.
7. Find an instructor. Tai Chi looks simple, but good form is required to reap all the benefits. Thanks to its growing popularity, you can now find qualified instructors all around the country. There are even programs designed especially for seniors where you can make new friends and progress at your own pace.
8. Study independently It’s easy to get started with meditation for seniors how to learn Tai Chi and there are many opportunities to go deeper. Visit your local library or ask your instructor to recommend books and DVDs on Tai Chi. Explore the underlying philosophy of it and other forms such as Chen and Wu.
Tai Chi is great for both your mental and physical well-being. These powerful exercises can help seniors stay in shape with little risk of injury.
Meditation for seniors and the elderly includes a decreased sense of loneliness, greater longevity, better health, less mental fog, a reduction in health care costs, and a slowing of the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Meditation sessions can last just 10 and 20 minutes, and several such sessions a week lead to a multitude of mental and physical advantages seniors would be wise to take advantage of.
For more information on meditation for seniors and how you can help those you love please visit “A Place For Mom“.