Silver Yoga, in conjunction with conventional dementia therapy, has positive effects on the mental and physical health of seniors living in a nursing home, according to research results published in International Psychogeriatrics.
While you might think of yoga as trendy exercise for the young and fit, it’s actually a therapeutic modality appropriate for most people regardless of their age, weight or level of fitness.
Even elderly dementia patients can do yoga because a properly trained teacher can modify poses to suit their students’ needs. Seniors and others with physical challenges, typically participate in seated yoga classes, like Silver Yoga.
What Is Silver Yoga?
Silver Yoga, also known as Silver Age Yoga, is yoga therapy for seniors. Created by yoga experts and tested for safety, the modified yoga poses in the Silver Yoga program accommodate the limited flexibility and mobility frequently found in this aging population. This type of gentle yoga offers seated, chair-assisted and free-standing asanas.
This type of gentle yoga offers seated, chair-assisted and free-standing asanas. A typical Silver Yoga class has four components:
- eight warm-up exercises
- seven gentle Hatha yoga poses
- a relaxation pose
- guided meditation
Seniors Completed 3 Silver Yoga Classes per Week
The participants in this yoga study from Fooyin University and Kaohsiung University in Taiwan were:
- men and women aged 60 and older
- nursing home residents in long-term care
- suffered from mild to moderate dementia
Split into two groups:
- 33 seniors completed 3, 55-minute yoga classes per week for 12 weeks
- 35 seniors went about their daily activities and did not do yoga
Health Benefits of Silver Yoga for Dementia Patients
After 12 weeks, the silver yoga seniors realized a variety of mental and physical benefits, including:
- significantly less depression and problem behaviors
- lower blood pressure
- enhanced flexibility
- improved strength and endurance
- increased range of motion
If you’re interested in karma yoga, consider getting certified as a Silver Age Yoga Instructor (you don’t have to be a yoga teacher) because you could help improve the quality of life for dementia patients living in a long-term care facility.
Yoga References for Silver Yoga Benefits People in Nursing Homes
1. International Psychogeriatrics; Using Silver Yoga Exercises to Promote Physical and Mental Health of Elders with Dementia in Long-Term Care Facilities; J.T. Fan et al.; 2011.
2. Journal of Clinical Nursing; Physical Fitness of Older Adults in Senior Activity Centers After 24-Week Silver Yoga Exercises; Kuei-Min Chen et al.; 2008.
3. Silver Age Yoga: website
Photo credit: David Robert Bliwas