As you grow older, your mental health should be a component of your health that you put at the forefront. Trauma, stress, and disease can lead to poor mental health, and these are situations one is bound to experience as they age.
The best meditation apps for seniors help with focus, ease anxiety and promote better restorative sleep. They are also useful when one wants to improve their mindfulness and mental clarity.
This article delves into the features that make the below list of meditation apps the best ones for seniors. It will also provide a detailed guide on what to look for in a meditation app for seniors.
This app comes with a variety of meditations that work very well for both beginners and pros. It is considered the best app on the market because it offers very structured courses that feel like in-person classes.
Anyone can use the sessions which are either short term to help you calm down in unexpected stressful situations or long term if you have specific times of the day to meditate. In fact, they have SOS meditations meant specifically for the meltdown moments.
Headspace was launched ten years ago and is a pioneer app in the mindful meditation niche. The interface of the app is very user friendly, so senior people can use it. Beginners benefit from the guidance on this app as it instructs you in the basics of mindful meditation from how to sit still and what to do with distractions.
Seniors will enjoy the colorful, excellent visuals and simple instructions that lead you as you meditate. The instructions are delivered in a very soothing voice by Andy Puddicombe, the founder of Headspace. The app is highly recommended for beginners who are starting in meditation.
This app is available for both Android and iOS.
- It is very quick and easy to use
- It has very engaging fun animations
- It tracks the user’s daily meditations
- It is excellent for beginners
- It has a free trial period before signing up
Calm is better suited for people who are seasoned at meditation. This is because it has open-ended sessions that offer little guidance. It is an excellent option for seniors who are looking for sleep guidance or ambient music that calms them when they are driving. With age come common problems like insomnia or poor concentration.
The app also offers users visualization and breathing exercises, and it even has guided sleeping stories. Although the app is exceptional for seniors who have been practicing meditation for a while, it doesn’t have a very streamlined sign-up process.
However, once you are done with the sign in, you will find great meditation sessions from an inspiring series to one about confidence and even a sound bath experience. The sound session doesn’t have any guidance but rather avails soothing sounds to help you meditate. Calm even has a session named Wonder that is voiced by famous actor Matthew McConaughey.
Calm has a timer, and it also comes with a massive catalog of noises, music, and sounds that one can choose from. While some of the tracks are excellent for lulling you to sleep, others are ambient and can be used to soothe while one is doing chores or any other type of work.
Calm has a very wide range of stories, sounds, and sleep features to work with. This app is available for Android and iOS.
- It helps you learn new meditations
- It allows you to pick weekly goals for your meditation
- It guides users in a very insightful way
- It has very realistic live nature noises
- Each meditation session is named
The Waking Up app provides a more secular approach to meditation. It is an adaptation of neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris’s book and podcasts. The app has a sleek design that is easy to navigate. It comes with a timer, daily exercises, and inspirational images.
Waking Up offers guidance in the session, and Harris has used both philosophy and science to help the user understand how meditation works for them. Seniors will particularly benefit from the approach of self-discovery in the meditation sessions and lessons as it helps them find themselves and regain their self-confidence in their golden years.
The app offers sessions that help with self-discovery, anxiety, and self-help, among others. Some sessions are concise yet thorough lasting between 2-15 minutes long, and they compliment your efforts to keep calm throughout the day. It also provides sessions running into an hour.
Seniors who use this app find the approach utilized by the creator to be simple yet effective.
Because of this, they can begin to use it immediately when they purchase it. In fact, the app comes with two sections: the first is known as the practice section, which has simple meditations narrated by Harris himself. These are the introduction meditation sessions that ease one into the basics of mindful meditation.
The other section is known as theory, and it gives an in-depth explanation of what is behind the practice. Harris interviews prominent experts in meditation to give more insight into self-development, awareness, and even death. It also contains smaller chunks of everyday lessons to meditate on all day.
- Its simple interface that is easy to use
- It offers users plenty of options to work with
- It provides both short and long term sessions
- It uses a secular, insight-based approach rather than a spiritual approach
- It contains detailed information on the science of meditation
- It is available for Android and iOS devices
This app is adapted to another book from an author by the name Dan Harris, not related to Sam Harris. The app is excellent for debunking the disbelief skeptics have about meditation labeling it a bunch of crock.
10% Happier is actually named after Dan Harris’s book on how he discovered mindful techniques that helped him cope with anxiety and stress. Since the app went live, it has grown in the content library which features traditional meditation teachers, meditation experts for athletes, an instructional video, and an audio library.
The tone of the meditation sessions is more humorous, so it works for seniors looking for a light-hearted meditation experience. Harris and his team believe meditation should not be confined to the definition of the gooey, soft traditional tone only. Because of their tone, the sessions are able to turn around the skeptics who frown on the “loving” tone of traditional meditation.
10% Happier has tested out the new technology in Siri like Siri shortcuts and Siri suggestions. Using Siri Suggestions, the app can learn from your patterns where you like to meditate and when. As a result, Siri will suggest relevant meditation sessions from 10% Happier during those times. Siri shortcuts use simple voice commands to control the meditation content from 10% Happier.
The app is making inroads to make it available on voice-controlled platforms like Google Assistant and Alexa.
- It has a humorous approach to the meditation sessions
- It has an interesting array of meditation sessions and track with very experienced teachers
- It is available in iOS and Android
Insight timer is very practical in its approach to the meditation sessions it offers seniors. The user has access to over 7000 meditations that are free and guided, and voiced by thousands of teachers. The meditations are timed in durations of five minutes. For seniors who love quiet meditation, the app offers a timer that allows one to meditate with intermittent bells or with ambient noise.
This app also shows the user how many people are meditating at the same time, allowing seniors to enjoy group meditation from wherever they are. At the end of the session, you will see how many members of the community were meditating as well. It also allows users to invite friends and family to join meditation challenges.
- It provides a community experience for the user
- It offers a lot of meditation options
- It is available for Android and iOS devices
- It has an easy to use interface
Sanvello is not just a meditative app, but it also provides you with tools for managing anxiety and stress. These tools help with cognitive therapy, helping seniors cope with behavioral issues that can affect their mental health. As a result, seniors can cope with emotions and feelings.
The Sanvello app helps you track your mood, goals, health, and thoughts and also gives you the benefit of journaling. It offers lessons and activities to users to help them with their meditation options. Unfortunately, some of the activities and lessons need a subscription.
- It is easy to use its interface
- It has a great tracking system
- It offers very useful tools for mental health
- It is available for iOS, Android and also on the web
What to Consider in a Meditation App for Seniors?
The app needs to provide a good level of guidance, but this aspect is very subjective. People who have used a similar app may not need a lot of guidance, but beginners may need to opt for the apps with more guided sessions. If you are self-motivated, you do not need the distraction of another person’s voice telling you how to calm down among other things.
Some users prefer to have a balance between guidance that helps you through a few sessions before going independent. Well, known apps like Calm provide guides through their deep sleep exercises, but Headspace offers bite-sized bits of guidance to work through the day.
Choose an app that offers manageable durations for the sessions. There is the option of short and long durations. Short term sessions can be squeezed at any time of the day while the longer duration can be slotted for evenings or mornings to start or end your day.
The best apps come with several durations available to make it adaptable for people with different schedules.
The app should be completely customizable to meet the needs of the user. For example, the music or sound should be customizable, allowing you to listen to your favorite music or live nature tracks. Some people enjoy feeling like they are in a calming setting like a temple or forest.
Some apps give you the option to designate times during your day where you are prompted to practice mindfulness actively.
Some apps come with reminders and prompts to hold users accountable by reminding them of their scheduled meditation timings. Look for an app that allows you to set up reminders if you have a busy day or tend to forget things.
Before buying a meditation app, you must identify whether you are a tactile, audio, or visual person. During guided sessions, do you need to see what is expected of you or is listening enough? Most meditation apps are audio-based allowing you only to listen and follow the cues, but some also come with a visual aspect to especially help beginners.
Visual apps may be more interesting and can be used for home practice, while audio apps can be used anywhere more discreetly even in public spaces.
Timers are also essential to help with prompts and reminders, so make sure that the app you choose comes with one. Also, consider an app that allows you to download additional meditations and also allows offline use.
The app should be compatible with various devices, including iPads, tablets, smartphones, and laptops. It should also be compatible with both Android and iOS systems.
The Benefits of Mindful Meditation
Most meditation apps advertise that the practice of mindful meditation is crucial in reducing anxiety, stress, and even pain. As a matter of fact, these apps focus mostly on this aspect of meditation which emphasizes paying attention to the moment you are in.
Research shows that meditation can result in a moderate reduction of psychological stress.
Some studies have shown a difference in brain activity in people as they do their regular chores and everyday tasks and when they are in a reflective state of mind. However, because the results are not earth-shattering, the practice of meditation is used to supplement medication and other forms of therapy.
The Buddhist faith has practiced mindfulness for centuries, and it is from this practice that meditation experts derive the mindful branch of meditation. The benefits of mindful meditation include:
Meditation Promotes Calmness
Lack of calmness can exacerbate a stressful situation for anyone. The danger that stress poses for senior members of the society is immense because it can contribute to life-threatening conditions like hypertension and anxiety.
Even in situations where one is ill, meditation can help you cope with symptoms like tension headaches, insomnia, depression, and chronic pain as well. Some treatment centers even recommend using meditation to cope with chronic illnesses and their resulting treatments.
Meditation Increases Self-Awareness
Self-awareness is crucial in being able to manage the situation one experiences as they age. If one is aware of how their health, mood, and reactions affect loved ones and even themselves, they are likely to find ways to better cope with different challenges. It also helps them pick up on telltale signs that precede a meltdown or mental crisis.
Meditation Helps With Focus
As we age, it is possible to get caught up in the past, whether it was a glorious one or a traumatic one. However, being able to focus on the present is crucial in order to live your life to the fullest. Mindful meditation helps refocus you on the life you are living at the moment.
While focusing on the present, it is important to pay attention to the great things happening in your life. This doesn’t mean one needs to disregard the negative but rather look at them objectively.
Meditation Increases Patience
Meditation helps with increasing one’s level of tolerance and patience, not only with others but with their own self. This is because meditation allows you to deeply reflect on your actions and the actions of others before you react. And because meditation can be done any time, one can harness its benefits at any time.
Meditation Improves Your Creativity and Imagination
Meditation helps bring out your creative side because it taps into your imaginative ability to bring different scenes to life. For example, if you are using live nature tracks during your meditation, the sounds can trigger your imagination to envision yourself in a forest, beach, waterfall, or even underwater swimming with dolphins.
The same tracks are able to calm you down and provide a serene environment allowing you to be creative in your work. For instance, an artist can be inspired to paint what they visualize from the track. Creativity applies to any type of work.
If you want to read about all the physical and mental health benefits of meditation in general (not just mindful meditation), read our extensive article which summarizes some of the research on the topic here.
Meditation is an exercise that requires concentration and contemplation while promoting spiritual awareness. It typically includes:
- Listening to calming sounds
When you are able to control your thoughts and responses to stressful situations thanks to meditation, you are on the winning side of the practice.