Jason Lewis is a guest writer on our website. He is the primary caregiver for his mom and a personal trainer specializing in senior fitness. In recent years, he noticed what an impact church has had on his Mom, and not just spiritually. Going to church and participating in church activities has helped her stay both mentally and physically active. He wants to spread the word about that and offer additional tips on improving physical, mental, and spiritual health for seniors.
For many seniors, there is a daily battle: due to life circumstances that may be unique to their age or health concerns, elderly people often confront a variety of emotions or mindsets that may be somewhat debilitating and hard to bear. These include a sense of isolation, loneliness, boredom, and grief, as well as others. Even those who have family members nearby may not feel fulfilled, or they may feel lost after the death of a partner or close friend. It’s common for loved ones to feel unable to help when a senior shows signs of these problems, but for some, the answer lies in a very simple solution: church.
Going to church can help your loved one feel that they are a part of something, stay social, make a difference in the lives of others, help in their community, and find peace or solace after losing a loved one. There are many ways a religious organization can assist the senior in your life with staying healthy and vital; the key is to find the right one.
Here are some tips on how going to church can help impact your loved one’s life in a positive way.
Going to church can help your loved one stay healthy by encouraging talk-based resolutions and peaceful relationships, which can help discourage substance abuse. Many seniors have fallen victim to prescription pain medication or turn to drugs and alcohol to numb their emotional pain and depression; attending church can help combat that. For more information on seniors and addiction, click here.
Going to church can help reduce stress, in part because it allows for social situations that will help your loved one find happiness. Making a connection to others will help seniors find something to look forward to and can boost self-esteem and assist with healthy brain function, making for much happier days.
“Social support is no doubt part of the story. At the evangelical churches I’ve studied as an anthropologist, people really did seem to look out for one another. They showed up with dinner when friends were sick and sat to talk with them when they were unhappy. The help was sometimes surprisingly concrete,” writes T.M. Luhrmann of the New York Times.
Many church organizations give back to their communities by organizing food drives, helping shelters, putting together fundraisers for various charities, and giving children safe places to play and learn. These are all great activities for your loved one to participate in, as they can help foster a sense of community and togetherness.
“Many times, adults want to find ways to give back to the community once they retire, but aren’t sure where to start. Seniors who are part of a religious organization will be exposed to a number of charitable opportunities that will often coincide with their interests and abilities. Older adults may find that lending a helping hand to the less fortunate gives them a newfound purpose in their retirement and helps them make new friends,” writes Julia Little.
Finding the right church environment for your loved one may take some time, but it’s a great way to keep him active and social, especially if he’s recently lost a partner or has been battling loneliness. Encourage him to participate in church functions and offer to go with him for support, as any new venture–even a friendly one–can be daunting for some seniors. When you make it a joint effort, you’re showing how much you are about your loved one’s well-being.
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