Senior Church-Goers: How It Is Beneficial

Guest post by Jason Lewis

Individuals attend church for various reasons. Perhaps it is to worship God, grow their spiritual faith, connect with a like-minded community in fellowship, or simply because they were raised to do so. It could be one or a combination of reasons. Senior citizens may have some of the same reasons behind their attendance, but at this stage in their life, there are some helpful benefits they may not be aware of.
 
Stay Grounded
 

As we age, there are certain circumstances that tend to affect seniors more than others. This is a period of life when independence may decrease, and aches and pains become common, increasing the risk of depression and misuse or addiction to prescription medications. According to DrugRehab.com, "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. 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." Many church-going seniors report finding that sense of peace through regular church attendance, and find that it helps them to better cope with health problems, declining financials, and loss of spouse, partner, and friends. Church restores hope and leaves seniors with a positive attitude, which further facilitates recovery, perseverance, and drive. No matter what is going on in their life, church can be a focal point that restores order and provides an hour or two each week to re-group and feel the love.
 
Stay Connected
 
Isolation and seniors often go hand in hand, but church is a great way for seniors to stay connected and involved with a renewed sense of community and purpose. A religious gathering is a networking opportunity, and a chance to interact with and meet others with both similar and different interests and worldviews. Seeing the same faces each week, and being recognized and greeted by name makes seniors feel included and cared for, not to mention the social support is a plus. It is extremely helpful to know there is always someone ready to listen and carry you through the good times and the bad. Something as simple as a phone call to check in or preparing a meal after a surgery or health issue prevents seniors from feeling like they are all alone. Perhaps unbeknownst to the senior is the benefit of having watchful eyes in the form of other church members. Perhaps a churchgoer notices a decline in weight, mobility, or even spirit that might not have been noticed if the senior lives on their own or doesn’t have a primary caregiver.
 
Stay Moving
 
While there probably won’t be a pilates class in the middle of the service, attending church gives seniors the opportunity for a little low impact exercise. Walking in and out of church, sitting and standing to sing hymns, and walking to the front to participate in various religious rituals sounds simple, but just that small act could be the most movement a senior has done all week. Perhaps church could even be the push a senior needs to get moving more so that they can continue to be an active member. Even if their mobility is dependent upon a cane, walker, or wheelchair, any exercise is good exercise. However, if mobility just isn’t a safe option, that shouldn’t stop seniors from worshipping. There are transportation services that will pick up and drop off seniors at church, and most religious facilities have designated greeters that assist you to your seat should you need it.
 
Church is a great opportunity for seniors to not only grow in their faith, but also enjoy other benefits such as staying grounded, connected, and active. Whether you’ve gone to church all your life or just found a church you like, keep going! We could all use the support of someone both here and up above, and church attendance is the ticket.

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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