Seniors Benefit Emotionally and Spiritually from Church Attendance by Jason Lewis


old hands

For older adults, loneliness, isolation, poor mental health and declining physical health are all too real. This is a sad reality that much of our aging population is faced with today, but with community support, especially from church, seniors can to improve their health and reverse this trend. Attending church is actually one of the best ways of fighting these problems and improving the health of seniors.

Church Provides Community and Social Support

Loneliness is one of the greatest problems that older adults face, and living in isolation can lead to depression and poor physical health. When older adults attend church, they can rebuild a social network that they may have lost over the years. The social benefit of attending church does more than give seniors a chance to get out of the house and see friends a couple of times a week. According to Health Fitness Revolution, connecting with others through church and praying together creates a strong sense of community. Being a part of this community gives you a support system of people you can depend on.

Church Provides Services for Physical Health

Many churches offer activities for senior citizens that help care for their physical well-being, such as exercise classes and periodic health checks. They may have a supper club or weekly luncheon for senior church members, which is especially beneficial for older adults who live alone and may struggle to maintain good nutrition. Some older adults who aren’t active may not get out of the house often, but going to church gives them a reason to get up and get moving.

Spiritual Faith Builds Hope

We often focus spiritual outreach efforts toward younger people who haven’t discovered faith, but maintaining and strengthening spiritual belief is essential for older adults to thrive. When older adults attend church services regularly, they continue to grow in their spiritual journey and this faith helps them cope with stresses they face as they age. The sense of hope that comes from faith helps fight the tendency for older adults to experience depression.

Church Activities Enrich Lives

 Older adults who are retired and have finished raising a family often feel like they no longer have a purpose in life. Whether it’s recreation, fellowship or service activities, being involved gives seniors a renewed feeling of worth. Seniors and younger people alike benefit from intergenerational opportunities they get through church, as each generation can love, support, and learn from one another.

Due to life circumstances that may be unique to their age or health concerns, elderly people often confront a variety of emotions that may be somewhat debilitating and hard to bear. These include a sense of isolation, loneliness, boredom, and grief, as well as others. Engaging in church activities is not just spiritually fulfilling, but it also helps combat these negative health concerns and emotions. Fighting these often debilitating conditions is a serious health concern.

Older adults who experience isolation and depression often take poor care of their health and are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as substance abuse as a way to self-medicate when they feel overwhelmed.

Attending Church Has Been Linked to Better Health and Greater Longevity

According to CNN, in a study of church attendance and longevity, those who attended church regularly had a lower risk of death during the study period. The combined effects of community support, healthy activities and a greater motivation to take care of their physical health are likely all related to churchgoers experiencing, on average, less serious disease in old age.

Other studies have shown that older adults who attend church have fewer cognitive disorders as they age, and those who do experience a slower decline in cognitive function.

The great news for older adults is that attending church is one solution that helps with many different problems. The relationship between faith, mental health and physical health is complex with each strengthening the others. If you know an older adult who may be struggling, help give them that connection by inviting them to attend church with you.

 

Photo credit: Pexels

Author: angelcasiano

An independent thinker with a profound call to see the orthodoxy of the church and passion for Christ manifesting together. Angel was born in Brooklyn, New York in April of 1968, he was raised on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico where he earned his B.S. degree in Sociology with a minor in Education from the Inter American University in San Germán in 1991. That same year he moved to Jacksonville, Florida. After working construction jobs for a year and learning the English language, his first job working with foster-care children in the capacity of youth care worker was with Jacksonville Youth Sanctuary in September of 1992. With JYS he was promoted several times as group home supervisor, legal caseworker, and program director. While in Jacksonville, Angel studied a couple of martial arts styles. After earning his black belt, he became the founder of Good Fight Ministries as he used martial arts as an instrument to preach the gospel. In 2004 Angel was selected Martial Arts Instructor of the Year for the State of Florida and in 2005 Angel was inducted in the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame where he also received the Christian Spirit Award. In July of 2005 Angel accepted his call to pastor a bilingual church in Winton, NC where he served for a couple of years. Five months later he lost his first wife to cancer in December of that same year. This initiated a deep valley of suffering in his life, a mountain of costly mistakes and the embracing of lifestyles of sin that are well documented through this blog. In August of 2012 Angel moved to Fairbanks Alaska with his wife Rayette Casiano and six children who are now adults. In Alaska, Angel continued his social work-related career and his ministry of preaching, teaching and writing. Angel is the author of two books, Hope for the divorcee: Forgiving and Moving Forward and 7 Banderas de Esperanza: La Bendición de Yokdzonot. In January 8th of 2020 Angel and his wife moved to Arizona.

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