Mindfulness Training and Seniors

Elderly woman looking in mirror thinking

Mental Health Is a Key Component of the Overall Well-Being of Seniors

McGregor Is Using Mindfulness Techniques to Help Seniors Deal With COVID-19

We’ve heard so much about physical health during the COVID-19 crisis that we tend to forget how powerful this virus is on the psyche. For residents at McGregor, it’s been weeks since they have seen family members, and that loneliness is hard to overcome and adjust to. Mental health hasn’t always been a focus for their generation, and sometimes, they don’t have techniques to help them respond to stress in safe and appropriate ways. 

That’s why McGregor is starting to train our residents in a therapeutic strategy called mindfulness training to help them adapt and overcome the stress of COVID-19. Stress compounds stress. Symptoms worsen and produce new symptoms, and the spiral can descend quickly into clinical depression and physical depression in a matter of days. Through mindfulness training, our residents are learning how to slow down and recognize that stress is a combination of triggers and our reaction to them. Life is ever changing; and understanding that concept will help our residents deal with tough situations. Here are some of the tenants of mindfulness training to help you gain a better understanding of this technique:

The Equation

Stress + Situation = Our Reaction.

That reaction is really a three-part phenomenon. It’s a combination of the physical response we have coupled with a cognitive response and emotional response. The first step in mindfulness training for seniors is to understand how your mind and body typically react to stressors and triggers.

It Boils Down to Paying Attention

Mindfulness training isn’t about looking for a solution first. It’s about being still and looking for context around how you behave and the triggers that elicit your responses. Pay attention to the current moment and see if you are approaching situations with kindness, acceptance, and curiosity.

Mindfulness Is About Understanding How the World Works

Remember The Facts of Life? The television show’s theme song said, “You take the good. You take the bad. You take them both, and there you have the facts of life.” That’s mindfulness training in a nutshell. Life is made up of positive, negative, and neutral experiences. If you are in one phase, you know that at some point you will enter another phase. Knowing that will give you comfort and peace when dealing with stress. 

It Starts With Silence

Mindfulness training is about awareness and paying attention to thoughts. When the mind is calm, the body follows. In order to pay attention to the signals being sent by the mind, one needs to find the calm within. It’s not about searching for the calm; it’s about being mindful of what calm feels like. 

This is just one of the many things that McGregor is doing to help your loved ones find peace and comfort in this tumultuous time. We are helping them deal with this inside and out so that the next time you see them, they’ll have a smile on their face!