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The Big Health Benefits of Meditation for Seniors

Focused senior woman meditating

There’s nothing mystical or otherworldly about meditation as you may have imagined. While it is an ancient practice, this method of calming the mind and body can be done by anyone, anywhere, anytime. The only requirement is having a quiet place where you can sit or lie down while you relax and focus mostly on slowly breathing in and out. 

Meditation for seniors is extremely well liked for the many health benefits it delivers. When you’re in a meditative state, typically your breathing and heart rate will slow down (in a healthy way), there will be a gentle decrease in blood pressure, and you’ll feel stress and tension melt away. 

If you live in a senior community like Meadow Lakes, it’s a regular offering through their superb LivWell holistic wellness program and very popular with residents. Of course, the beauty of meditation is that once you’ve been taught the techniques, you can practice it anywhere. 

 

Let’s look at a few types of meditation you can explore.

 

Popular Types of Meditation for Seniors 

At its core, meditation focuses on calming your mind and body. But there are actually several different types of meditation, each with their own skills and mindsets. They’re not difficult to learn, but you might find that one appeals to you more than others because it feels like a good “fit” for your personality, mental/physical goals, and your lifestyle. Here are 5 of the most effective types of meditation for seniors:

 

  1. 1. Mindfulness Meditation Encourages you to be fully aware of “the present” and of existing surroundings. Rather than allowing your mind to wander and ruminate on negative thoughts, it helps keep you focused on “the now,” helping to release you from the stresses that burden you emotionally and physically.

 

  1. 2. Spiritual Meditation (also known as Centering Prayer) This form of meditation is often practiced in nature or in a place of worship. But it can also be done with a class or in your own home. It involves thinking a silent prayer that helps open your mind to connect you to something larger than yourself, such as the earth and/or a higher power.

 

  1. 3. Focused Meditation Of all the meditation practices for seniors, this type is ideal for those with limited mobility. You choose a focus (breathing, nature sounds, etc.) and practice tuning out everything else around you. It’s a great way to exercise your attention span, which is a great side benefit of meditation for seniors.

 

  1. 4. Movement Meditation If you’re a senior who prefers movement with their exercise (for example if you like tai chi or yoga), try movement meditation. The idea is to find concentration while in motion. Think of people who close their eyes to feel the music while they sway in their chair. Or the peace that comes from focusing inward while practicing tai chi.

 

  1. 5. Visual Imagery Meditation If you like to close your eyes and travel to a fond memory or a place where you felt at peace, this type of meditation will appeal to you. When you find yourself going to a place of negativity that is now “water under the bridge,” that’s the time to repeat an affirmation in your mind, like “Breathe. Smile. Release.” When you say it, you focus on letting this positive flow to your breathing, heart rate, mental state, etc.

 

Benefits of Meditation for Seniors

 Here’s a list of some of the many benefits of meditation for seniors, both psychological and physical:

 

  • Reduces blood pressure A meta-analysis of 12 studies that enrolled nearly 1,000 participants found that meditation was able to help lower participants’ blood pressure. 

 

  • Reduces chronic pain Meditation can reduce pain intensity by more than 50%. 
  • Reduces anxiety, stress and depression Research has shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions. 
  • Improves your memory and focus Meditating for even 13 or so minutes a day has been found to enhance attention and memory in just 8 weeks. 
  • Reduces fatigue and improves sleep Studies have found that those who had been meditating for 6 weeks reported better sleep and less daily fatigue from insomnia. 
  • Improves digestion One study among others concluded that people who meditated improved both their digestion and circulation. The theory is that by calming the mind and body, you’re able to reduce stress, and the state of relaxation positively impacts the whole body. 

 

How to Start Practicing Meditation

Because of its inherent calming techniques and safe movement, meditation is one of those programs that doesn’t require a doctor’s approval. 

However, it’s wise to let your doctor know you’ve started meditating so its positive impact can be observed and measured. As meditation experts like neuropsychologist Jean Lengenfelder, assistant director of traumatic brain injury research at the Kessler Foundation, have attested, “The more frequently you meditate, the more benefits you can experience.”

 

Your Wellness and Comfort Are Our Priority

The secret to long-term independence is well-being, and here at Meadow Lakes, we’re focused on offering our residents everything they need and want for a healthy, stress-free lifestyle.  We invite you to learn more about how we focus on whole-person wellness through our LivWell program and in all we offer. We look forward to meeting you soon!