By Parveen Kumarr Sahni,
Often considered a ‘youthful’ country with a sizeable proportion of its population under 30, India also now has a growing population at the other end of the spectrum! Reportedly by 2050, senior citizens (defined as those over 60) will form 20% of the Indian population. With age come memory problems, cognitive decline, and a growing loneliness epidemic, all making seniors vulnerable to mental health issues. In fact, the prevalence of mental illness is increasing amongst the aging population worldwide, making it a major cause of morbidity.
According to reports, 20% of seniors experience some sort of mental health concern, most common among them being anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar depression. These issues also negatively impact physical health and wellness of seniors, often leading to impaired physical, mental, and social functioning, and can complicate the treatment of other chronic disorders they may suffer from.
Active aging includes regular physical activity, pursuing hobbies, meditation, and helping others. Pursuits that offer the opportunity to gain experience, express yourself creatively, and community bonding help in enhancing moods and re-energizing the brain. In today’s time, there is a plethora of activities and resources available to keep elders engaged leading to happy minds and spirits. Among these activities is sewing, one of the most effective ways to keep your mind agile, boosting your creativity while relieving stress and anxiety.
Sewing reduces chances of Dementia
Did you know your brain is a muscle? Well, like all muscles in your body, brain exercises do wonders to keep you at your peak performance, and this is where sewing really comes handy. Trying new fun projects, experimenting with colour, stitches, and various features keeps one mentally agile while also improving dexterity and focus. Research shows that people who sew are less likely to get dementia. Sewing enhances the brain cells and releases the feel god hormones, thereby reducing the likelihood of mental illness and memory loss.
Research suggests that engaging in creative hobby such as sewing helps lower the risk of dementia and also sharpens memory. A recent report by Mayo Clinic reveals how people who indulge in crafts are 45% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairments.
Lowers stress and blood pressure
It is important to find a systematic and proper outlet to calm your body and mind, since excessive stress has been linked with disease and illness. Sewing elicits a relaxation response through the body, which aids in lowering blood pressure and better digestion. In fact, according to various reports, the average heartbeat of a sewist dropped by eleven beats per minutes after sewing, leading to lowered blood pressure as well.
A form of meditation
Ever heard of sewing therapy? It’s real! The term meditation is no longer only about sitting cross-legged in complete silence. Today the meaning of meditation is far more inclusive, and can be any activity that centres your mind giving you peace and calm. In fact, new-age technology allows us to identify activities and hobbies that elicit a response similar to the traditional form of meditation. This is where sewing comes in – it is a meditative craft.
Makes you feel better physically
The inherent calming effect of sewing combined with the release of dopamine it spurs, improves both physical and mental wellbeing visibly with multiple benefits – from better sleep, lower cravings, to even relief from back pain.
So, if you are a senior citizen, or soon to be a senior citizen with time on your hands, now is the time to get started to stay happy, healthy and busy while experiencing the golden years of your life.
(The author is President – Sewing Machines, Usha International. The views expressed here are those of the author and in no way to be construed as medical advice. They also do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)