As people grow older in age, life slows down drastically. Many seniors feel isolated and depressed because they are no longer working, their children are leading their own lives, and their friends or even spouses often lose battles with their health. The best way to get a senior out of this state is to encourage them to attend church regularly. It has been proven in countless studies that going to church has a positive long-term effect on mental health for the elderly. Here are some reasons why going to church will help their health take a turn for the better!
A chance to socialize
Many seniors spend their days cooped up in assisted living facilities or in their house, away from the company of others. Being isolated can result in depression, substance abuse, cognitive decline and an increased risk of mortality. Attending church will give seniors the opportunity for fellowship with like minded people regularly. Also, many churches offer organization meetings and group outings outside of weekend service, which gives seniors even more of a chance to get out and mingle! It is extremely difficult for older adults to make new friends so participating in church-related functions will give them the opportunity to do just that. These friendships built with congregation members will make a senior feel as though they have a sense of belonging, which is a feeling many seniors miss.
Church members also offer social support that is unmatched. They tend to look out for one another, like an extended family. Each member is treated with importance, regardless of age and if a senior falls ill or needs a helping hand, a church member will be there for them. Good social support reduces stress, anxiety and depression and also provides a sense of purpose and belonging. Socially isolated seniors tend to have a pessimistic outlook about the future, and openly predict that their health will get worse over the next few years. People that are supported by a group of friends are less vulnerable to health issues and premature death and they also have a generally positive outlook on life.
Seniors with declining health issues such as dementia, need a calculated schedule to help make them feel secure. As these adults grow older, they feel out of control as their body “surprises” them with new ailments and diseases. Creating a routine where they go to church every weekend will not only give them something to look forward to and be a part of, it will also give them a sense of control and independence. This routine will keep them from slipping into depression and other negative behavior patterns.
A spiritual practice
It has been said that those who practice spirituality or religion, lead longer and healthier lives. Church teaches the practice of “faith” which means to have complete confidence in God. By attending church on a regular basis and practicing faith, seniors will feel as though they are a part of something bigger than themselves, which is extremely comforting. This comfort is needed the most when facing diseases and other health issues that comes with growing older. A strong spiritual practice will give a senior the strength they need to keep living and enjoying life.
Seniors need to know that the later stages of life do not mean that life is over. Attending church regularly will help restore their quality of life by providing strong friendships, routine and spirituality. Perhaps life is not ending, and this is just a new beginning!