The Positive Impact of Meditation on Seniors

Jun 12, 2024

Meditation for Elderly

Buddha was asked: What have you gained from meditation?

He replied: Nothing. However, I have lost anger, anxiety, depression, insecurity, fear of old age and death. 

Old age is sedentary and marked with a feeling of uselessness especially for those who had been very active in their younger working days. The stress of not doing anything or not being able to do anything makes them unhappy. In absence of the pressing needs of caring for children or work routine or a career in the forefront, one’s mind may quickly drift to the past and many questions may disturb his or her mind -   

Did I do a good job as a parent?

Should I have worked longer? 

Why didn’t I travel more?

What if my money doesn’t last? 

What if my grandkids never visit?

As we age, we worry about our physical health. But we forget to focus on peace of mind and happiness which are imperatives for maintaining good health. 

Stress doesn’t decrease with age. It just changes its form. People often wonder if there is a solution to the unending stress at all. Can anything be done to help calm the mind?

The answer is Yes! 

And the solution is simple MEDITATION 

Morning Yoga

Meditation has been found to promote good health and has a calming effect on the mind that helps one become positive. Meditation in the elderly can especially offer health benefits.

Several benefits of meditation that can be seen in the elderly include-  

  1. Boosting memory and mental alertness.
  2. Decrease in blood pressure.
  3. Relief from digestive problems and symptoms.
  4. Deep breathing during meditation can help blood and oxygen circulation. 
  5. Regulated breathing increases oxygen intake, which can boost the immune system. 
  6. Meditation stimulates the areas of the brain responsible for feeling good and happy.
  7. Meditation can reduce stress, anxiety arising from chronic illness, disability, or a death in the family or of a loved one. 

The first question then arises is HOW TO HELP OLDER PEOPLE MEDITATE?  
Here are a few suggestions:

How to Start and Maintain a Mindfulness and Meditation Practice

Starting something new can often feel daunting, and mindfulness meditation is no exception. Even Buddhist monks who embody peace and calm began as beginners. Here's a compassionate, step-by-step guide to help you start and maintain your own mindfulness and meditation practice, bringing amazing benefits to your mind and body.

Step 1: Find Your Peaceful Space

Choose a quiet spot where you can sit comfortably without distractions. Turn off your phone and any noisy devices. Take a deep breath, relax, and set an intention to let go of distractions and stress. You might choose an intention like, “I intend to see the goodness around me,” “I will feel peace and calmness today despite any challenges that arise,” or “I will show myself compassion today.”

Step 2: Be Present

Close your eyes and focus on the present moment. As a beginner, tuning out distractions, including your thoughts, will be challenging. But with practice, you will learn to quiet your mind. Pay close attention to your body, starting from your feet and moving upward. Notice any sensations without judgment. Maintain an upright posture to help you stay alert and focused.

Step 3: Focus on Your Breath

Stress can cause us to breathe shallowly without noticing. Practice deep breathing to help calm your mind. Try the 4-7-8 technique: inhale through your nose for a count of four, hold the breath for a count of seven, and exhale through your mouth for a count of eight. Begin your meditation with a few deep belly breaths. If you get distracted, gently bring your focus back to your breath and remind yourself of your intention.

Step 4: Quiet Your Mind

Throughout your meditation, notice how your mind tends to wander. When it does, gently bring your focus back to your breath and the sensations in your body. This process of refocusing helps you to stay present and cultivate a sense of calm and clarity.

Step 5: Start Small

Begin with short sessions. Set a timer for five minutes to start, and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable and skilled at quieting your mind. Building up slowly helps to make meditation a sustainable and enjoyable part of your routine.
Elderly Health Care

Embrace the Journey

Remember, mindfulness and meditation are practices that develop over time. Be patient with yourself and acknowledge every small step forward. The benefits of this practice, including reduced stress, improved mental clarity, and enhanced emotional well-being, are well worth the effort.

Meditation is a powerful tool that can enhance your life in numerous ways. By starting small and being consistent, you'll soon experience the profound benefits of this practice. Happy meditatinng!