The 12 Benefits of Tai Chi for Seniors

The benefits of Tai Chi for seniors are incredible. If you are looking for a low-impact, relaxing form of exercise that only requires about 20 minutes a day and rewards your efforts, Tai Chi is for you.  Tai Chi is an internal Chinese martial art in the sense that it focuses on mental and spiritual aspects integrated into movement.  This meditative form of exercise consists of a series of 19 movements and one pose. You may have seen groups of people demonstrating its slow-moving circular forms in public parks.

Many seniors and senior care facilities have been enjoying this style of workout and conditioning for more than 20 years.  Here are 12 benefits of Tai Chi for seniors:

  1. Relieves physical affects of stress
  2. Promotes deep breathing
  3. Reduces bone loss in menopausal women
  4. Improves lower body and leg strength
  5. Helps with arthritis pain
  6. Reduces blood pressure
  7. Requires mind and body integration through mental imagery
  8. Accumulates energy by releasing endorphins rather than depleting it
  9. Enhances mental capacity and concentration
  10. Improves balance and stability by strengthening ankles and knees
  11. Promotes faster recovery from strokes and heart attacks
  12. Improves conditions of Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s

Many senior care facilities and community centers are offering Tai Chi classes (some free of charge) not only because of the extensive health benefits but also because it does not require any equipment or furniture.  Many seniors find it an easy activity and a peaceful environment in which to meet other seniors with common interests.

To learn first hand the benefits of Tai Chi for seniors and find a Tai Chi class in your area, simply input Tai Chi and your city into any search engine.  If you add the word “free” to your search you are likely to find a community center or other informal group that meets in a nearby park.  Your local library may have demonstration DVDs you can use if you cannot find an instructor or class that is convenient for you.

New Social Security Benefits for Alzheimer’s

Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is one of 38 degenerative conditions included in the Social Security Administration’s new Compassionate Allowances program.  This fast-tracking system is designed to aid younger patients and their families in moving quickly from diagnosis to benefits.  Expediting this process aids in reducing stress associated with waiting for the lengthy approval process, and trying to plan the next stages of life while in a state of limbo.  Many of these younger patients–most in their 30s and 40s–are still working and have more extensive financial responsibilities than the traditional Alzheimer’s patient.  More typical Alzheimer’s patients are in their mid-to-late 60s, retired, and also too young to be receiving Social Security retirement benefits in some cases.

Effective March 1, 2010, the Administration will be able to electronically target and make prompt decisions in the best interest of the disabled patients.  In the past, when a younger patient began experiencing the cognitive limitations, they were not traditionally tested for Alzheimer’s disease. Instead, they were thought to be suffering from job and life-related stress.  This issue added to the lengthy process of identifying the correct diagnosis and than being approved for disability benefits.  With this new program, it is estimated that tens of thousands of younger Alzheimer’s sufferers will now qualify in a matter of days rather than the traditional months or years it often took in the past.

According to the Administration, approximately 200,000 people under the age of 65 currently suffer from the symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.  Due to the sheer volume of potential benefit applicants, the Administration will also benefit from this new program as it will reduce the time and effort of the appeals process that in the past would contribute to slowing down the system for every patient.

Photo: benprks