Mindfulness has long been known to have a positive impact on those who practice it. Many people associate mindfulness with Buddhism because the concept draws a lot from the religion, but people of all belief systems use mindfulness to live happier, less anxious lives. Mindfulness is not just about meditation; it’s about being present in every moment of your life. However, meditation facilitates mindfulness, so there are many benefits to your senior parent incorporating meditation into their routine.
One study from the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found evidence to suggest that practicing mindfulness and transcendental meditation improved longevity in the elderly. The study followed a large group of seniors and found that those who meditated were less likely to have died at the completion of the study. Another study from the National Institutes of Health found that meditation may prevent cellular aging, which may contribute to the additional longevity.
There is also evidence that mindfulness meditation decreases loneliness, or rather, promotes interconnectedness. One UCLA study of seniors who engaged in an eight-week meditation program reported significantly less loneliness at the end. Loneliness and isolation is a major problem for the senior population, often decreasing their quality of life, so this research shows a lot of promise. The theory is that meditation inhibits gene inflammation, which has been correlated with loneliness.
Much research has been done that supports the idea that meditation improves your mood. In one study of seniors in Thailand, researchers implemented walking therapy for two groups of seniors: one that used a meditation component, and one that did not. Those in the meditation group saw much better outcomes than their solely walking counterparts. Walking meditation has shown benefits for reducing depression and improving cardiovascular health and fitness.
May Slow Alzheimer’s
There is research that supports the idea that meditation may slow down the progression of dementia. A double-blind study from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that seniors who meditated and used breathing exercises to reduce stress showed fewer signs of the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Reduces Healthcare Costs
Meditation benefits seniors’ health, but also may help them financially. One study from the Journal of Social Behavior and Personality found that seniors who practiced meditation had fewer hospitalizations than those who did not. The meditation group’s payments were 70 percent less than the non-meditating group over the course of five years.
Benefits Caregivers, Too
Meditation not only helps your senior parent; it can help you as their caregiver as well. A separate UCLA study looked into caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients and found caregivers who practiced brief daily meditation reduced stress and anxiety. Given the profound impact that caring for this population can have on mental and physical health due to stress, meditation could be a good coping mechanism to incorporate into your life.
At Gulfshore Private Home Care, we are dedicated to giving our clients the help they need to live their best lives, including meditation. If you are looking for in-home health care for your senior parent in Naples, FL, contact us for more information.