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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%).


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 For media inquiries, contact External Relations at