In case you're interested in incorporating this centuries-old technique into your own daily ritual, here's what I do. First, with a deft arrangement of pillows and blankets, I unfold myself into a supine position. Next, I dial up some meditation music, close my eyes and visualize myself in a beautiful alpine meadow. And finally, I fall asleep until a puppy licks my face. Your own results may vary.
For all my careful preparation and fervent belief in the power and benefits of meditation, I'm obviously still not very good at it. Even when I don't accidentally nap, it seems there's always an interruption. One session last week was ruined by the deafening chime of an incoming email that turned out to be the McKnight's Daily Update. It featured a news article about how meditation reduces cardiovascular incidents, proving that irony can be as intrusive a distraction as dogs and sleepiness.
Even if you offered classes in meditation to your long-term care clientele, I realize many of them might be skeptical of this New Age snake oil quackery. But there's a growing body of research on its effectiveness for seniors. A recent study by researchers at the University of California, for instance, determined it reduced feelings of loneliness and enhanced immune systems.
So next time I visit your facility, I hope to see a group of meditating seniors lying on mats or sitting in the full lotus position. In the lobby. On the lawn or patio. In the parking lot, if necessary. On the practical business side, meditation errors carry far less life and legal risk than their medication counterparts, and you probably wouldn't even need to invest in a high-tech meditation management system.
Though I've got a long way to go before becoming a truly proficient practitioner, meditation has tangibly helped me, and could be a real boost for those in your care. As long as you keep the puppies out.
Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, who cobbles these pieces together from his secret lair somewhere near the scenic, wine-soaked hamlet of Walla Walla, WA. Since his debut with SNALF.com at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.