Top 7 Benefits Of Meditation For Over 60s
The many health benefits of meditation are now widely recognized, but relatively little attention has been given to one group who stands to benefit tremendously from the practice: seniors. For men and women over the age of 60, the physical and mental improvements meditation offers are even more important. Below are just a few of the ways a meditation practice can improve the health and well-being of seniors.
- Enhanced Immunity
Compared to younger people, seniors are more likely to fall ill – and when they do, it’s more likely to be serious. It’s especially important, then, for older people to take steps to boost their immunity, and meditation is a simple one. Scientific studies have shown that meditation affects multiple outcomes related to the immune system, including markers of inflammation and number of CD-4 cells.
- Improved Sleep Quality
It’s no secret that many older people struggle to fall or stay asleep and often experience low energy levels and daytime sleepiness. By reducing stress, increasing melatonin, and improving mindfulness, regular meditation helps practitioners fall asleep more quickly and sleep better. And better sleep means more energy during the day.
- Lower Blood Pressure
A major risk factor for conditions from heart disease to dementia, high blood pressure tends to get worse with age. But by reducing stress and regulating the production of hormones like cortisol, meditation helps to return blood pressure back to a normal level. Relatedly, research studies have even found that meditators experience fewer heart attacks and strokes, problems that primarily affect older adults.
- Better Moods
Though they might not be the group we most associate with depression, seniors are disproportionately affected. Reduced sense of purpose, loneliness, grief, fear, and other health problems all increase the risk of depression – and they’re all things most older people go through. Meditation can help by stimulating the prefrontal cortex, which increases feelings of happiness and contentment and better moods overall.
- Reduced Anxiety
Anxiety is even more common than depression among the elderly, and it can be brought on by many of the same issues. By helping to change anxious thought patterns and balance brain chemicals, meditation can help reduce feelings of anxiety, even in the face of the many triggers older people deal with.
- Improved Memory
Nearly all adults experience at least some degree of memory loss as they age. Meditation has been shown to improve memory by stimulating the hippocampus, the area of the brain most related to memory. While it improves younger meditators’ ability to remember material for exams or recall where they put their keys, enhancing memory for seniors can mean slower mental decline.
- Increased Focus
One of the most well-established benefits of meditation is its ability to enhance focus and concentration. Researchers liken the brain to a muscle and consider meditation an exercise that challenges and strengthens it. Lifting weights helps the body improve its functions, and meditation does the same thing for the brain. Struggles with mental sharpness eventually become an issue for most seniors, but they can be postponed by meditation.
While people of all ages stand to gain from improved immunity, increased focus, and the many other benefits, meditation affects the body and mind in ways that specifically impact older adults. It prevents problems that are most common among seniors, improves skills that many struggles with, and creates changes that are more important for them than for younger people.
Given that staying healthy and slowing the aging process is a top concern for most seniors, developing a meditation practice should be a priority – and it’s never too late to get started.