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Senior Caregivers: Why You Should Look into Meditation and Yoga

Dec-20-2018 | aging in place, Alzheimer's Care, Caregiver Service, Dementia Care, Elderly Care, In Home Care, Long Term Care, Senior Care Services,

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In 2015, an estimated 34.2 million Americans provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older. These senior caregivers provide daily meditation and yoga assistance to those who are either temporarily or permanently unable to function independently. Many informal caregivers move in with their senior loved one in an effort to support their decision to age in place.

Caregiving is a rewarding yet stressful endeavor. It is common for informal caregivers to add their new responsibilities on top of their day jobs. Furthermore, witnessing a loved one’s well-being deteriorate with time is mentally and emotionally taxing.

To help mitigate the anxiety, it’s important for caregivers to implement activities that help restore mental and physical health. Exercise is one of the best things people of all ages can do to care for their overall well-being. It supports a more positive mindset and relieves feelings of stress and anxiety. Regular exercise can even help relieve pain. Physical activity helps maintain bone health while regulating weight to mitigate pressure on joints and tendons. Exercise keeps the mind sharp and improves memory. Exercising during the day also expends energy for deeper, more restorative sleep at night. Senior caregivers can add more indoor exercises to their routines with the help of technology such as YouTube exercise instructionals, Nintendo Wii games, and fitness apps, but it’s important to break away from the screens from time to time. Joining a meditation and yoga community is the perfect way to do just that.

Meditation and Yoga for Seniors and Caregivers

Meditation and yoga go hand-in-hand. They both involve using mindfulness to connect our inner self with a higher energy; they both require practitioners to pay attention to the breath; they both attempt to clear away the restless energy we carry around by reaching for a point of stillness.

Yoga has the added benefit of being an accessible exercise for aging bodies. Many of the poses are performed in seated positions and can be modified for an individual’s physical needs. There is even chair yoga for those relegated to a mobility aid.

Yoga is therapeutic for both seniors and their caregivers. In addition to the regular benefits of exercise, the focus on the breath in yoga improves lung capacity and increases oxygen intake, which, in turn, helps cognitive function. The poses support a more stable core while enhancing both flexibility and mobility, improving overall balance and strength and reducing the risk of senior falls. The gentle exercise lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure, which can help reverse cardiovascular disease when combined with other healthy habits.

An added benefit of joining a meditation and yoga community is the support and socialization. Both seniors and their caregivers need socialization for emotional and mental health. Socializing mitigates stress, reduces the risk of depression, builds self-esteem, and lengthens lifespan. Joining a meditation and yoga community plugs seniors and caregivers into a support system that is committed to compassion while providing the opportunity for the gentle exercise of both body and mind. Having an activity outside the home also keeps seniors and caregivers motivated while giving them something to look forward to in their routine.

There are millions of informal caregivers in the United States who help seniors perform their daily responsibilities for healthy living. An important part of maintaining both senior and caregiver health is exercise. Joining a meditation and yoga community is a great way to add more exercise to a routine while joining a group that is both supportive and compassionate. Being involved in a community help mitigate caregiver stress while enabling a longer and healthier life for seniors.

Credit: June Duncan for Polish Care Services

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