Visiting Angels Dallas, TX Blog

Meditation & Mindfulness Promotes a Healthy Brain

There are many daily activities for independent seniors that support brain health and wellness in Dallas, TX

Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed, it can be harder to remember things? You’re rushing to get ready for work, school, or to an appointment – but did you remember to turn off the coffee maker or close the garage door? It’s likely that you’ve experienced this kind of stress-induced forgetfulness at some point during your life.

Stressful events can cause a variety of changes in our brains and bodies and can cause long-term damage if you’re under constant stress. It is important to recognize when you’re feeling stressed and manage those feelings in a healthy way. This can help reduce those negative long-term effects, such as “forgetfulness” or memory loss.

Some research even suggests that certain stress-management techniques can prevent or slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and forms of dementia. This means that it is equally important for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or Parkinson’s disease to manage stress in an accessible way.

Stress & the Aging Brain

Stress is a chemical reaction; when we experience a stressful situation, adrenaline rushes into our bloodstreams and causes a reaction. Everyone reacts to stress differently. Some people rush into action, tackling the problem head on. Others may become overwhelmed or go blank.

In a practical sense, this adrenaline rush can help us escape from danger, respond quickly in a crisis situation, and take other measures to protect ourselves from perceived danger or stress. Our focus shifts into protective mode and our memories are impaired. Sometimes people will say they “blacked out” during a performance or traumatic event – in reality, they were just not forming memories and there is a gap in events. [Source]

Chronic stress can cause memory loss, depression, and cognitive decline. For aging adults who are concerned with maintaining their brain health, reducing stress is essential. When a stressful situation cannot be avoided, it’s important to know how to manage the symptoms.

Incorporating Meditation into Dementia Care

If your loved one has early-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you may want to consider working meditation into their dementia care plan. Research found that as little as 15 minutes of daily meditation could significantly slow the progression of dementia [Source].

What is Meditation?

Traditionally, meditation means moment-to-moment awareness, remaining still, focusing on breathing, and “checking in” with how your body feels. Sitting or laying still can be challenging for seniors with dementia, so consider walking or light stretching instead. The goal is to quiet the mind and practice awareness.

How do I get started?

Meditation has become a widely popular and medically-recommended method for stress management. There are many videos, tapes, and courses that you can access online or through your local library to help you find the best method of meditation. There are even podcasts and audio books to help guide you through meditation from your smartphone!

When introducing meditation to a loved one’s dementia care plan, it can be helpful to participate with them.

What are the benefits?

Research suggests that meditation, along with other healthy lifestyle choices, can promote a healthy brain. This means your loved one may slow the progression of memory loss or more effectively manage their dementia symptoms.

At the very least, meditation can help seniors who feel confused, overwhelmed, or lost re-center themselves, slow their breathing, and find the clarity needed to address the task at hand. As a family caregiver, you may find that meditation helps you maintain patience, remember you daily To-Dos, or simply feel less stressed.

 

Visiting Angels of Dallas, TX, encourages families to speak with their loved one’s doctors and medical care team before making any changes to a prescribed care plan. As a non-medical home care agency, Visiting Angels supports independent seniors in their desire to remain in their homes as they age.

To learn more about Visiting Angels of Dallas and how we may be able to assist your loved one in their home, please call our office today!

 

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