on Mon, 26 Nov, 2018
The caregiver-senior relationship is a unique one, and it can be stressful at times for both parties. Caregivers may have a difficult time finding the time to indulge in self-care, and seniors may be stressed over the fact that they can’t be as independent as they once were. Stress causes unnecessary side effects, so why not take part in beneficial activities the two of you can do together? Yoga and meditation might be what you are looking for.
Take a Look at the Benefits
Yoga and meditation offer much more than a relaxed state of mind. According to a study cited by Medical News Today, both yoga and meditation “appear to have a positive effect on the central nervous system as well as the immune system, and that it may improve the individuals' overall sense of well-being.” For seniors, in particular, regular practice can provide low-impact exercise without strain. There are many different types of yoga, each with its own set of moves that can be catered to your age/ability, but all can help with flexibility and range of motion as well as bone health. These benefits are important, as trips, falls, and aches become commonplace as you age. As for meditation, it is the ultimate stress reliever, helping to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression while also improving memory and focus and reducing chronic pain.
It Can Be Done Any Time, Any Place
Both yoga and meditation can be practiced in the comforts of home. However, when the two of you are just starting out with yoga, it is best to take a class first so that you can work on mastering the moves in a safe environment with instruction and assistance. There is more than one type of yoga, so do your research first. Start out with a hatha yoga class where the movements and pace are slow, or Kundalini yoga, which combines poses with deep breathing and meditation. Seniors with limited mobility might enjoy chair yoga as well, and most yoga instructors can modify the moves using a chair or other props. Once you get the hang of it, consider setting up a meditation room in your home or that of your senior loved one to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of yoga and meditation at home. Use an empty room or quiet corner, and make it as clutter-free and relaxing as possible. Keep décor simple with a peaceful painting of a river, a vase of flowers, or an aromatherapy diffuser.
Get the Right Equipment
A yoga mat is a must for yoga, but it can be used for meditation as well. If you or your senior loved one have bad knees or could benefit from a little extra cushion, check out this list of yoga mats courtesy of Bustle. A chair can be used for both activities as well, so consider investing in a new comfy chair with plenty of support. If yoga needs to be modified, shop around for yoga props such as blocks, straps, and bolsters. You might even have some helpful props already lying around the house. According to Verywell Fit, “Folded blankets can be used to lift the hips during seated poses, or to offer support during lying poses.” As a bonus, they can be used to snuggle up with while you are meditating or in the final relaxation portion of your yoga routine.
The only other equipment you need is time. Talk with your senior loved one about setting aside a time each week to attend a yoga class or meditate at home. Find the time of day that works best for both of you, such as before lunch when you are still feeling energized or at the end of the day when the two of you could use a moment to process the day and relax.
Yoga and meditation are just two of the many activities that caregivers and seniors can do together. It is a great way to nurture your relationship and incorporate a little self-care too. You don’t have to be a novice, so what’s stopping you?
--Article by Harry Cline.