Visiting Angels Sarasota, FL Blog

Four Benefits to Meditation: Why Seniors Need to Find Zen

Mindfulness and meditation have become popular buzzwords over the last few years. While the practice of meditation has been documented as early as 1500 BC, the practice of mindfulness is relatively newer, having been developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 1970s. The idea behind mindfulness and meditation is to empty one’s thoughts and to stay focused solely on the present moment. It can take a lifetime to enter a true meditative state, according to some practices, but the essence of mindfulness and meditation can be accomplished in just a few minutes each day.

Senior woman meditatingIn light of a global pandemic, practicing mindfulness and meditation are crucial to maintaining a sense of calm. It’s never too late to begin to meditate. Because meditation draws on sitting still, taking deep breaths, and centering one’s mind on the present moment, anyone can meditate, including seniors. While there are numerous benefits to practicing meditation and mindfulness, there are particular benefits specific to seniors. Here are four benefits that we hope will motivate seniors to begin to practice meditation today.

Boosts Immune System

We all know that stress is harmful to the body. In addition to causing headaches and interfering with sleep, stress also weakens the immune system. Seniors are already at a disadvantage in experiencing a weakened immune system simply due to age. The body’s immune system’s defense mechanisms grow weaker with age, inhibiting a senior’s ability to resist infection. Meditation helps combat stress, thus boosting the immune system. Spending a few minutes each day practicing mindfulness and meditation fosters a stronger connection between the immune system and brain. Over time, meditation helps make the immune system’s functioning more effective.

Reduces Blood Pressure

Another benefit to practicing meditation for seniors is a lower blood pressure. Many seniors struggle with high blood pressure. Unfortunately, a side effect to some prescription medications that man-age chronic health conditions is an increased blood pressure. Again, seniors are at a disadvantage to experiencing high blood pressure simply due to their age. They are also more likely to add salt to their food to compensate for decreased taste buds. Meditation helps lower blood pressure, and the best part about it is its pill-free.

Improves Memory

Practicing meditation improves memory, another great benefit for seniors. Even without experiencing memory loss, seniors still experience a decrease in cognition as they age. It takes longer for them to recall where they left an object or to process and respond to a conversation. Meditation helps to combat that by engaging both short-term and long-term memory centers in the brain. It can help preserve cognitive functioning in seniors who are entering early stages of memory impairment. Be-cause it requires a lot of brain power, even for just a few minutes, meditation can help seniors improve their executive functioning, processing speed, attention span, and overall cognition.

Decreases Feeling of Loneliness

Finally, seniors who practice meditation experience less feelings of loneliness. According to a study published by Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, practicing mindfulness exercises can improve feelings of loneliness in seniors. It’s important to note that seniors can still feel lonely regardless of the number of people they interact with; it’s a matter of their perception. Seniors are more likely to feel disconnect-ed, thus experiencing feelings of loneliness more often. Meditation works to combat those feelings of disconnection and loneliness. It helps seniors expand their field of awareness while teaching them how to notice their emotions without becoming attached to them.

Visiting Angels Sarasota is here to help seniors stay focused on the present moment and to help them find Zen. We offer a variety of senior home care services that allow seniors to stay safe in the comfort of their own home. The compassionate caregivers we refer would love to spend a few minutes guiding you through a meditation practice so that you can start reaping the benefits of meditation today. We’re also helping families find Zen by giving them peace of mind knowing their loved one is being well-cared for. We take the stress out of caregiving, by coming alongside you so that there is more room for calm in your life. Getting started is easy. Simply contact us today by calling 941-952-5800.

Each Visiting Angels agency is a franchise that is independently owned and operated. The Franchisor, Living Assistance Services Inc., does not control or manage the day to day business operations of any Visiting Angels franchised agency.