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.

Your Senior Health Care Bill: $260,000!

I have always been a big fan of Howard Gleckman, author of Caring for Our Parents.  In fact, he was the very first person I interviewed for my Leaders in Elder Care series.  If you aren’t familiar with Howard’s blog, you’re really missing out on a complete play-by-play of how the health care debate is impacting the cost of senior care.

This morning, he shared some startling statistics about paying for elder care that I have quoted below.  In this article, Howard has links to some fascinating studies about the out-of-pocket costs for seniors, and it is shocking.  It is mind-boggling to me how financing elder care will be solved as we move forward. He wrote:

A typical couple would have to save nearly $200,000 to pay for their out-of-pocket medical costs from the time they are 65 until they die, according to an important new study by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Add in nursing home costs, and they are likely to need $260,000.

But that’s only part of the story. About 5 percent of 65-year-old couples will face catastrophic medical and long-term care costs exceeding $570,000, according to researchers Anthony Webb and Natalia Zhivan.They estimate those expenses would have exhausted the total financial assets of 85 percent of all retirees even at the peak of the stock market in 2007.

As someone who has first-hand experience with out-of-pocket expenses and my Mother’s care, I was still so stunned by these numbers, that I could not write a conclusion to this article.  What do you say?

Obviously, I encourage you to check out Howard’s writing.  In the meantime, what are your thoughts about these big numbers?

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