Meditation May Reduce Loneliness and Chronic Disease in Older Adults

meditation may reduce loneliness and chronic disease in older adults

All too often, older adults in our community suffer from loneliness. This not only affects their quality of life, but can increase risk factors for health problems and mortality rates. And new research out of Carnegie Mellon University offers the first evidence that meditation may reduce loneliness, thereby improving the health of our senior population.

Researcher J. David Creswell randomly assigned participants (age 55-85) to receive either an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program or no treatment. Findings showed that the participants’ loneliness decreased over the course of the study. Not only that, but blood samples showed decreased levels of inflammation in the body. Because inflammation can lead to heart disease, cancer and other chronic diseases, researchers concluded that meditation may reduce incidence of these diseases.

Mindfulness meditation involves increasing one’s awareness of the present and focusing on the moment. For mindfulness-based meditation classes locally, check out the Waterloo Riverview Dharma Centre.