seniors

Why Meditation is Good for Seniors

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In the last few years, mindfulness, yoga, and meditation gained prominence for young adults. Many things could be attributed to this. For one, today, people are much more open about joining conversations about mental health and the importance of maintaining it. Another reason is the growing concern and improvement of self-care and wellness. Lastly, the development of mobile apps, social media, and more websites made it much easier for wellness experts to share their ideas about meditation — helping millions of people do it on a daily basis as well.

At this point, we are all well aware that meditation benefits people of all ages. This is why they are more than happy to carve out a few minutes of their days and dedicate them to meditation. But there’s one age group that would extremely benefit from meditation. And that is the seniors. Sadly, many of them aren’t practicing meditation. But, by knowing the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of meditation, they may be more encouraged to do so.

Cognitive Development

Today, an estimate of around 50 percent of people of all ages have a form of dementia. Many of us believe that cognitive issues — struggles with focus, memory, etc. — are just a natural part of aging. It’s something that all seniors experience. But, contrary to popular belief, the National Institute of Aging stated that this is not factual. Many people who reach the age of 90 and beyond don’t experience any signs of dementia.

Many studies have been conducted about the cognitive benefits that come from daily meditation. One of them is a 2014 study that was published in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. This study concludes that daily meditation can offset seniors’ cognitive decline.

Emotional Health

Unlike many other cultures, it’s fairly common for American families to hire healthcare professionals to care for their aging parents or put their parents in a healthcare facility for seniors. These are great ways for seniors to stay connected with people. They can build friendships with the professionals who conduct home healthcare services. They can also make friends with fellow seniors in a facility. But even with this social support, they can still feel lonely sometimes. And this would lead to the decline of their emotional health.

Fortunately, meditation can help them manage their mental health and keep it afloat. By decluttering their minds through a meditation exercise, they will master the process of embracing positive emotions. And by mastering positive emotions, they will also learn other traits such as opening up to people, exhibiting empathy, and deal with loneliness in a healthy way.

Menopause

For many women, going through menopause is one of the hardest things that they would go through. It can cause them insomnia, mood swings, hot flashes, night sweats, and many others. Unfortunately, there’s not much they can do about this. It’s just something that most, if not all, older women go through. But healthcare and wellness experts have found that daily meditation may actually help in fighting off some of the symptoms of menopause.

Doctors and researchers at the Mayo Clinic conducted a study on this and found that a significant number of women surveyed reported that they are experiencing fewer symptoms of menopause.

Digestion

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Digestion is something that many seniors struggle with. Because their bodies are changing, the types of food that they’re compatible with are also changing. There are many ways to help them deal with digestion issues. They would, of course, change their diet to fit their health needs. Some would take proper medication as prescribed by their doctors.

But meditation is also a good option for dealing with digestion issues. Jean Lengenfelder, a neuropsychologist at the Kessler Foundation, meditation can lead to the improvement of circulation and oxygen levels in their blood. And this, in turn, helps in managing digestion.

Sleep Disturbances

Sleep disturbances are a health issue that affects about 50 percent of older adults in the United States. Such issues can lead to an array of other issues such as depression, fatigue, and clinical insomnia. Because seniors, more than anyone, need their rest, we should be more concerned about their sleep disturbances.

Fortunately, a 2015 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that meditation can help seniors fight sleep disturbances.

Because most seniors are dealing with many health issues, they are used to relying on doctors, medications, and hospital treatment. These are very important, of course. But it’s also important for them to know that, as they acquire help from healthcare professionals, they can also try out other options to maintain their health. They can also try out meditation and enjoy the many health benefits that it can lead to.

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