Why Meditate? Mindfulness for Seniors
Staying fit and healthy is crucial as we age. At our senior living community in Fresno, CA, Orchard Park residents enjoy a wide variety of exercise classes and activities that strengthen the mind, body, and spirit. Beyond standard senior fitness classes, we offer more alternative options as well, including a Meditation Hour, among other mindfulness and relaxation-based activities. Read on to discover why mindfulness meditation for seniors is so popular, and how it helps improve the lives of our residents.
What Is Mindfulness?
Meditation has been around for thousands of years and is practiced worldwide. When we hear the term, most of us picture people sitting quietly, with their eyes closed, deep in thought. But what is mindfulness, really?
Mindfulness is becoming aware of your senses, what you’re experiencing in the here and now. It is designed to help quiet the chatter of the mind and to reconnect individuals with their five senses, a quietude that can bring a deeper sense of peace and calm.
Mindfulness exercises for seniors require participants to sit cross-legged on a cushion or chair, with a straight back. The individual sits with his or her eyes closed, and focuses their attention on their abdomen as they slowly breathe in and out. They may be asked to focus on their breath, their physical sensations, or visualize one of their favorite places, such as a beach. The basic intention of any mindfulness-based practice is to encourage individuals to focus on their thoughts, feelings, body movements, environment, and most importantly, the present moment.
Benefits of Mindfulness for Seniors
Beyond creating a sense of calm and a renewed appreciation for the present moment, meditation and mindfulness-based activities include a variety of other benefits for seniors. We’re listing a few below.
Meditation offers numerous physical, mental, and social benefits. According to research about mindfulness activities for seniors, just a few weeks of meditation-based activities can boost the body’s immune system and its ability to fight illness.
Better Focus and Cognition
Mindfulness helps us focus our minds and improve our memory. This is crucial for seniors with dementia or cognitive impairment, as meditation has been shown to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. Meditation reduces cortisol levels, a hormone that has been known to increase the risk of developing dementia, so can be used as a preventative technique.
Mindfulness meditation increases positive emotions, which in turn reduces stress and eases feelings of sadness. Research has found that these relaxation techniques for seniors reduce general anxiety, ease sleep disorders, and combat loneliness, as well.
There are many types of relaxation exercises for seniors including the meditation, mindfulness-based stress reduction exercises, Vipassana meditation, Zen meditation, and Yoga Nidra. Yoga and meditation studios are popping up all around the country, and many of them offer senior-specific classes. In addition to attending specific classes, you can also learn relaxation techniques via books, CDs, and DVDs available at your local library or bookstore. Tech-savvy seniors may enjoy podcasts or YouTube videos.
How We Meditate at Orchard Park
Senior residents at Orchard Park can participate in weekly mindfulness activities, like our Sunday Meditation Hour and Sunday Relaxation Hour, which alternate each week. These classes are highly attended and loved by our residents, and have been hugely beneficial to their physical and mental health.
See for Yourself
If you’re interested in learning more about our California-based senior living community and activities, or would like to schedule a tour, please contact us today to discuss the best solutions for you and your loved one. We are always happy to have guests join in our regularly-scheduled activities; there is no better way to get to know our community than by experiencing it firsthand!
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