Meditation for Seniors: Benefits for Aging Loved Ones and Caregivers
What if meditation could help you feel better, more in control, and better able to cope with challenges? This practice has the potential to improve your life and those of your aging loved ones in many different ways. It's like a little timeout designed to relax and calm your bodies, enjoy the moment, and increase self-awareness while battling stress and enhancing mental health.
Sound too good to be true? Research suggests that meditation has benefits for people of all ages. We rounded up four major benefits for both you and your loved ones to help you decide whether it's worth devoting some time to getting your “om” on.
Meditation Boosts Emotional Health
You're both going through a lot. The aging process and accepting they need help can be tough on your aging loved ones. Stepping into a caregiver role and juggling all the responsibilities that go along with it in addition to everything that's already on your plate can leave you vulnerable to stress, anxiety, depression, and burnout. Meditation can help support emotional health for both you and your loved ones.
Research shows that within an eight-week period, meditation can reduce the inflammation response sparked by stress. It can also decrease anxiety levels, even among people with high anxiety, and reduce depression. Meditation has been shown to increase people's positive outlook and improve their self-image. These are all positive effects that can help balance the tough times for your loved ones and for your caregiving journey. Better yet, the calming effect of meditation can help your loved ones gain clearer, more organized thinking and improved focus.
It Helps Keep the Mind Young and Improves Memory
Research suggests types of meditation that include chants, mantras, or repeated finger motions can improve neuropsychological performance among people with age-related memory loss. Studies show that many types of meditation can increase mental acuity and attention span, helping to fight both age-related memory loss and providing improvements for patients with dementia.
Meditation may also have the power to preserve cognitive function longer, holding off age-related changes and supporting processing speed, attention span, imagination, and creativity. Regular meditation practices actually change the physical structure of the brain. Areas responsible for negative emotions like stress and anxiety shrink while regions responsible for planning, personality, and self-awareness grow.
Meditation Enhances Digestion
Meditation has promise to help with a variety of conditions stemming from digestive problems. Aging can cause changes within the digestive system. So can certain medications, changes in diet, not drinking enough fluids, and stress. But meditation can help counteract those issues. It calms your body's fight-or-flight stress response, which can cause problems ranging from acid reflux to ulcers. It encourages deep relaxation, which boosts blood circulation and improves oxygenation in the blood. That, in turn, gives your gut an upgrade to increase digestive efficiency.
It Improves Sleep Quality, Helps With Insomnia
Sleep is so important for you and your aging loved ones. Problems in this department can put you at increased risk for medical conditions, mental health problems, and can even shorten your life expectancy. Insomnia weakens the immune system, sparks inflammation, and increases pain sensitivity.
Meditation, on the other hand, promotes calmness and relaxation. It helps you shake off tension and puts you in more of a peaceful mindset, which increases the likelihood you'll be able to fall asleep. In one research study, people who meditated had less insomnia and were able to sleep for longer periods than participants who didn't meditate.
Some people are able to lower their blood pressure and improve their medical conditions just by taking time to meditate on a regular basis. It's something you can do with your aging loved ones or on your own. There's no special equipment needed and you can do it anywhere. You can also tap into resources, such as meditation apps, to guide you through different meditation styles to find what works best for you and your loved ones.
Kimberly-Clark US makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional medical or other health professional advice.