The Meditative Way to Ease Loneliness in the Elderly

The process of mindfulness meditation is to still the mind through attentive watching of the breath. Through a non-judgemental attitude, the meditator lets go of a wandering mind and can accept chronic pain, at least temporarily, drug free.

Mindfulness meditation has been received into the medical community, through the efforts of innovator John Kabat-Zinn Ph.D, who created Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), for all ages, and to benefit lonely older adults.

His program has been used in pain patients, and incorporates principles of traditional mindfulness meditation, yoga and body-awareness techniques, according to National Standard, an online integrative medicine publication. MBSR helps elderly people to focus their attention, a practice shown to be effective in chronic pain.

The MBSR group came together for weekly two hour sessions with a trained MBSR clinician. Sessions consisted of meditation, yoga and discussion developed to focus on the present moment. The group also practiced MBSR daily for half an hour at home. Eventually, the MBSR group went on a daylong retreat. After eight weeks, the MBSR group exhibited significant reductions in loneliness.

Meditation for chronic pain is being studied for Assisted Living and Continuing Care Residents.