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A short AARP survey revealed that while most (63%) adults ages 50-plus are familiar with the practice of meditation, less than half (44%) ever meditate. In fact, only one in five (21%) say they meditate weekly or more often. Among those who do meditate, seven in 10 (71%) said they never use a meditation app.

spinner image Older woman meditating on a paddleboard

Most commonly, adults ages 50-plus meditate to relax (64%), to cope with stress (56%), or to create a sense of calm (54%). Two-thirds (67%) of adults in the 50-plus age group feel that it reduces stress at least to some extent. Among adults who meditate, nearly nine in 10 (87%) say the practice reduces stress and even among those who do not meditate, half (51%) still feel it reduces stress. Additionally, extreme stress is a reason one-quarter (25%) of adults would be encouraged to meditate or meditate more often.

Several barriers to meditation were noted. One-third (34%) of adults ages 50-plus said they do other things to reduce stress. One-quarter (25%) said they are not patient enough to meditate, and nearly one-quarter (23%) said they are not the type of person who meditates.

In addition to extreme stress, a doctor’s recommendation would encourage about one in five (23%) adults 50 and over to meditate as would additional information about the health benefits (22%). Adults 50 to 64 said they would be encouraged to meditate if they had more time, significantly more than adults 65-plus (26% vs. 16%).

Methodology

The research is based on a survey conducted by phone and online July 17–21, 2023, of a nationally representative sample of 1,128 people ages 50-plus. Respondents were asked to answer questions about their familiarity, experiences, and beliefs about the practice of meditation.

For more information, please contact Laura Mehegan at lmehegan@aarp.org. For media inquiries, contact External Relations at media@aarp.org.