Anyone who meditates regularly knows that ‘meditation is its own reward’! Practitioners have a two-part objective as they allow themselves time and space for meditation:
They pay non-judgmental attention to current feelings and thoughts (of all varieties) with the goal of eventually reaching a state of elevated emotion, free of mental disturbance. The goal may or may not be reached during each meditation, but each time they pay non-judgmental attention to their emotion and thoughts while intending to eventually improve them, they are creating an internal environment that supports more happiness and mental clarity as life unfolds.
Those who meditate receive ongoing personal benefits that explain to the practitioner why they do it. For those who don’t meditate, it is often hard for them to see ‘why’ they would want to sit with feelings and thoughts, especially the uncomfortable ones. Extensive research is surfacing that is providing a plethora of reasons ‘why’ non-meditators would want to give it consideration.
A senior living blog article, published on the ‘A Place For Mom’ website, references specific research on meditation as it relates to the aging experience. The article outlines a multitude of compelling correlations between meditating and quality aging, including:
- Improved longevity – a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggests that there is evidence that elderly practitioners of mindfulness meditation experienced improved longevity. The study followed a large number of seniors and found a significant decrease in mortality rates among those who meditate.
- Decreased loneliness – or rather, “meditation promotes connectedness”. A UCLA study found that seniors who engaged in a simple eight week meditation program significantly decreased rates of self-reported loneliness. Since isolation is a crucial problem among seniors, this is a promising avenue of research.
- May slow Alzheimer’s – it is believed that anxiety and stress can worsen Alzheimer’s and meditation protects the brain against these destructive habits.
- Reduces healthcare costs – The Journal of Social Behavior and Personality also reported that seniors who practiced meditation had significantly fewer hospitalizations. It is stated in this report that the meditation group’s “five-year cumulative reduction in payments to physicians was 70% less than the non-meditating group”.
- Walking meditation improves mood – A study conducted in Thailand found that seniors who engaged in meditative walking enjoyed greater reduced depression, more improved functional fitness and better vascular reactivity as compared to their counter-parts who walked without the meditative component.
To read the entire article, visit http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2-12-14benefits-of-mindfulness-seniors/.
Meditation is easy to teach in senior living communities and it’s something seniors and caregivers can enjoy together. It’s never too late to learn to practice mindfulness. As a senior care provider you have a unique opportunity to both enjoy and share the far-reaching benefits of meditation yourself, and with your clients.
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Written By Suzanne Robbins, Marketing Manager