Thursday, April 19

Did You Know Attending Church Can Help Seniors Live Fuller Lives? Here’s How

Guest article by Jason Lewis
As we age, it can be difficult to find our place in the world. Health problems, life stresses and changes in our family can be overwhelming, so it’s important to be able to find some direction amid all of the chaos. Church can provide that direction, as well as a host of other benefits, for seniors and older adults. Going to church can bring positivity to our lives in the form of these five connections. 

Connections With Others 

Church services are a wonderful means to connect with other people in the community in a positive way. At a time when friends may be far away or when family is tied up with everyday life, it can be hard to find ways to reach out to other people. Yet, social ties are crucial to maintaining a positive spirit and good mental health. Through church, weekly services, study classes and social activities allow seniors the chance to connect with like-minded people. People who will be there in  times of need and people who will help provide needed care and compassion, relieving the negative impact of loneliness in life

Connection to Compassion 

Most churches encourage charitable actions and giving, allowing seniors who attend the opportunity to give back to the community. Gathering clothing for families in need, collecting blankets for the homeless and organizing food drives are just some of the ways churchgoers regularly contribute to those who are less fortunate. If a senior doesn’t feel up to physically helping out, there are plenty of chances to give supplies or money to worthy causes and reap the benefits to the soul and body. If a senior finds themselves in need, say for a warm meal or help with household chores, a church community can provide for them as well. 

Connection to the World 

Aging can leave us wondering about our lives and really contemplating how we are connected to the vast expanse of the universe. It can be lonely to think about, but church can offer spiritual guidance and allow seniors to really feel connected to the world. Knowing that each person has a purpose, each life is worth living and every person is capable of redemption can help those who may feel lost or lonely. Feelings of loneliness can lead to dependence on alcohol, prescription drugs or other unhealthy vices, which only serve to make seniors feel more lost. Turning to church is a much healthier way to deal with these upsetting feelings. 

Connection to Purpose

We yearn to leave our mark upon the world and we tend to do this by leaving our wisdom with others. When careers have come to an end and families have grown apart, many seniors may be left with idle time on their hands. Hands that once cared for children and a mind that mentored workers may feel restless and ineffective. Most church communities consist of members from multiple generations and seniors can have an opportunity to help shape youthful minds. Senior church members are a source of wisdom and stability for their younger friends. 

Connection to Ourselves 

“It can be difficult to make ourselves focus on the here and now, especially if we’re going through a transition as life-changing as addiction recovery,” says “But taking even a few minutes a day to be mindful of all we have in the present moment - and especially all we have to be grateful for - can help us feel more at peace with ourselves, our surroundings, and our circumstances.” Going to church offers dedicated access to these mindful thoughts and practices. Church encourages prayer, which is a chance to reflect within, to reflect upon what we have in our lives and to ask for help pressing forward through life’s problems. Prayer helps us find peace within ourselves and peace with the world around us. 

We all want to feel connected, to feel loved and to feel like we have made the most of our lives, especially as we grow older. Church can provide comfort, compassion and connection when we need it most, and help us age with dignity and grace.

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