Dementia affects one out of every nine people aged 65 and older in the US. Watching a loved one struggle with memory loss and personality changes can be scary, especially if you are unaware what kind of dementia care they need.
However, there are several ways to help those suffering with dementia.
One natural and effective method is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness activities have been shown to have significant positive effects on dementia patients, and you can use them or try them with your loved one in St. Paul too.
How Mindfulness Affects Memory
Memory loss is one of the hardest parts of dementia, but mindfulness can help to improve memory and cognitive performance.
Studies have shown that mindfulness slows the progression of memory loss for seniors and those dealing with dementia. One study showed improved verbal skills and logical memory after practicing mindfulness techniques. Another study showed that older adults reported fewer cognitive problems after trying mindfulness.
Though more research in this area is needed, there’s evidence showing a connection between fun mindful activities and improved memory for seniors.
Breathing for Your Brain
Mindfulness activities such as deep breathing and meditation can result in positive changes to the brain.
Gray matter in the brain is responsible for memory, rationalization, and learning. When older adults practice mindfulness, that gray matter grows. This helps improve memory and cognition, even for those with dementia.
Mindfulness can also affect the hippocampus, which helps control emotions. Mindful meditation and other exercises help the brain regulate emotions and manage stress.
A Natural Mood Stabilizer
Seniors with dementia may become easily frustrated in new or confusing situations. What used to be normal may now be too overstimulating for them.
Stress can be a common issue for aging adults, and memory loss can aggravate that stress more. This can lead to increased aggression and mood swings.
On the other hand, mindfulness can work to calm the mind and help in managing emotional reactions.
Mindfulness helps seniors turn inwards, slowing both their breath and their thoughts. Mindfulness activities can be a positive break from some of the stresses and triggers of daily life.
Easy Mindfulness Activities
Mindfulness can become a part of many everyday activities in and around St. Paul, and it’s easy to incorporate into any routine.
The key is to avoid distractions and take time to slow down. Some examples of fun and easy mindfulness activities include:
- Deep breathing exercises
- Yoga and stretching
- Mindful meditation, including guided meditation using audio recordings
- Nature walks
- Cleaning, gardening, and tending to easy housework
- Gentle exercise
- Making artwork
- Mindful eating
- Tai chi
Try Mindfulness for Dementia Symptoms for Your St. Paul Loved One
Mindfulness activities offer a chance to slow down, relax, and turn inward, which can be incredibly beneficial for adults with dementia.
To improve memory and mood, try practicing easy mindfulness activities by yourself or with a loved one with dementia. For more on memory care, read about memory care programs from Sholom.