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.
Loss of work through retirement, loss of health, and loss of a spouse are factors that put seniors at risk of such isolation and depression. These can also lead to risky behavior, such as substance abuse. In 2015, Psych Central reported that 3 million adults over the age of 55 suffer from alcohol abuse and illicit drug use for those over age 50 doubled between 2002 and 2013.
How can the senior population find relief? Participation in regular, meaningful activities can help ward off isolation and combat depression. Attending church at Cherry-Cason Assembly of God may be the answer.
The Benefits of Attending Church
Researcher Nicholas R. Nicholson, in his report, “A Review of Social Isolation,” found that seniors clearly benefited from being regular churchgoers. Nicholson states, “Those frequently attending religious services have been found to have lower mortality rates than those with infrequent attendance.” What other benefits can older citizens get from attending church? It turns out there are quite a few.
Church Provides A Safe Opportunity for Community
Attending church services and other activities can help seniors build relationships. And when seniors “plug in” to a church community, an engaged staff can keep a helpful eye on seniors with health difficulties and other needs.
But it’s not just a one-way street. As people approach their twilight years, many seek deeper meaning in their lives. Seniors can share their wisdom and expertise with staff and younger church members, giving them a fulfilling way to participate.
Churches are also a great starting point for those seeking guidance and advice. Interacting with pastors, priests, or other church staff members gives seniors a safe place to share their fears and difficulties. This is especially important if they are struggling with isolation, grief, depression, or illness.
Churches also can offer older adults a space that encourages giving and receiving forgiveness. This kind of acceptance and grace can be especially uplifting in a person’s final years, erasing the stress that comes from bitterness and regret.
Church Is Good For Your Physical Health
Churches provide regular opportunities for their congregations to pray for the needs of others – and that can be good for your health. Regular attendance has also been shown to boost the immune system and decrease blood pressure.
Additionally, a 2013 study showed that participating in and listening to music is good for your immune system and reduces stress. Seniors should make sure not to miss the music part of Sunday service! This article from Health Fitness Revolution lists more health benefits of going to church.
Fortunately for seniors enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan who want to enjoy the benefits of a gym workout, the SilverSneakers program grants them access to fitness facilities without the additional monthly charge. Seniors can also work out alongside fellow churchgoers who want to get in better physical condition.
Finding A Church Service
When seniors are seeking a church, they should look for these criteria:
- Does the church have a Sunday service geared towards seniors? While many churches feature modern music and worship styles, some still celebrate with traditional services and hymns.
- Does the church have any kind of pick up service? For those who can no longer drive, this can be critical. Look for a church that has its own van service or provides rides to attendees.
- Does the church have a ministry for seniors? This team plans special events, luncheons, and other interesting activities for older churchgoers. Most churches list all their ministries on their website.
Attending church services provides an excellent way for seniors to find community. It can also have a positive effect on their physical and mental health, helping them to battle isolation and depression. It may even help extend their lives.
At this time, due to the Coronavirus, all churches in Los Angeles County have been closed until further notice by California Governor Gavin Newsom. As soon as church services are allowed to resume Cherry Carson Church will post the news on our website.
Photo credit Pixabay
Jason Lewis is a personal trainer by day. He specializes in helping seniors stay fit, healthy, and injury-free. To make this mission possible, he created Strong Well to be able to share his tips.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Cherry Carson Assembly of God Church board.