Meditation has been shown to have beneficial effects on people of all ages and walks of life, from stressed office workers to frantically revising teenagers, so it is not surprising to know that it can also be useful for elderly people, whether they are living at home or in a residential care home for the elderly.
It is important to remember that in order to reap the benefits of meditation, it must be practised regularly. A one-off session will not have any long-term effects – though it might brighten up the a person’s day.
The AgeUK website gives some good advice on how over 50s can learn to meditate and the calmness it can bring. There are also many examples and guides on YouTube.
Depending on the type of meditation, adjustments may need to be made to suit an older audience, such as performing meditation from a sitting position rather than a lying down position.
Some of the ways in which elderly people can benefit from meditation include:
Improves cognitive function
Studies have shown that regular meditation can improve elderly people’s ability to focus, concentrate and pay attention, can improve their verbal fluency and how flexible their mind is in terms of learning new skills and recalling old ones (e.g. mathematics). Overall, meditation can help to prevent – or at least delay – cognitive decline and / or the onset of dementia.
Improves anxiety and depression
It is very common for elderly people to suffer from anxiety and depression, especially those who have had major life upheavals such as the death of a loved one or having to give up fully independent living and move into a residential care home.
Meditation has been proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression.
Elderly people often suffer from too-light sleep, with frequent awakenings, which can leave them feeling tired during the day. This may have a physical cause, such as bladder issues or sleep apnoea, or it can be the result of bad sleep hygiene, or even caused by anxiety.
Whilst meditation cannot help with the physical cause of sleep problems, it may well be able to alleviate anxiety issues that keep the elderly awake at 3am, and help relax the individual enough to get them to drop off to sleep in the evenings more easily.
At Paxton Hall Care Home, all our staff are trained to provide high standards of care, and to treat each resident as an individual with their own likes, dislikes, wants and needs. Staff are quick to pick up on any undue anxieties residents may be experiencing and work with the resident to ease these anxieties and help the resident feel calm and content.