Can meditation help the elderly live longer?

MH Rifad

Can meditation help the elderly live longer?

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The Live-in Care HubThe Live-in Care Hub

We all dream about aging gracefully, enjoying the freedom of our later years without work and career commitments. Also spending time with family whilst doing many of those things, such as travelling, that we never had time for whilst we were working. Of course, these dreams do not always happen for so many elderly people for a variety of reasons, for instance, relationship breakdown, financial restrictions and, of course, health issues. Health problems can be a real challenge that make life as we get older much more difficult.

Memory loss can be an issue for many, digestive problems, mobility issues, pains and aches and just general health worries can all become a problem. It would be wonderful if we could have just a little more time to enjoy the things we have dreamed about for our old age, but sadly there is no magic elixir to give us all a longer life or, indeed, to make that life more comfortable.

Whilst meditation is not strictly an elixir for longevity, there have been some incredible studies done in the last couple of years that suggest that, in fact, meditation may very well be a key ingredient in helping the elderly to live longer more fulfilling lives. To many this may be a surprising revelation but increasingly what were once termed “natural remedies”, such as meditation and acupuncture, are now being proven to be effective in ways that modern medicines and medical intervention techniques are not. It is an interesting development that doctors and health care professionals now regularly recommend these sorts of treatments.

What is meditation and how can it help older people?

Meditation is a practise where an individual learns to use a technique, for example mindfulness or learning to focus the mind on an object, activity or thought. This has the effect of training a person’s awareness and attention and helps to achieve an emotionally calm, mentally clear and stable state of mind. Meditation is also practised as part of a number of religious traditions but can be done without these traditions.

The research that has been carried out most recently in this area suggests that as little as 15 minutes a day taking part in some form of meditation-based exercise can boost the memory, concentration levels and even a person’s ability to solve complex problems. All of these are things which can help to stave off the natural effects of ageing and produce a sense of wellbeing. The boost that meditating can give to your memory may be a “modest” one, however, it is entirely worthwhile if it means helping to reduce the natural effects that come with ageing on these particular processes.

The research by The Live-in Care Hub also found that there is a benefit for anyone of any age to be had from a daily meditation routine, however the benefit that was noticed in the over 60’s age group was significantly greater. It is, therefore, important at all ages but particularly important once over 60 years of age.

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For those elderly people who are fortunate enough to have live in care assistance at home the fact that meditation can boost their memory and wellbeing is good news that may in fact make it possible for them to remain in their own homes for even longer than they expected. This has the added benefit of avoiding a care home for as long as possible – an issue that is known to be of the major concerns of many older people in the USA and Western Europe. If the elderly person has never tried any form of meditation before then there are a number of different and very easy programmes that they can follow. This might be something that they can do outside the home through a local community centre or at home. If the meditation is done through a course outside the home, then it is usually recommended that this is practised at home for a short period of time every day as well as taking part in a group session.

Meditation does not need to be complicated. In fact, one of the main techniques that is taught to older people is sitting meditation. So there is absolutely no need to sit cross-legged on the floor – something that might deter people with mobility problems. It really is possible to meditate and keep fit even with mobility issues. Simply sitting in a chair is a relatively easy thing for anyone to do.

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