Some say the body slowly ages but the spirit is still capable of growth, renewal, and even new birth as one matures—that’s an interesting concept to think about.
Experts also report that religion and/or spirituality can help older adults cope with aging and related health problems–having a hopeful, positive attitude about the future can keep them motivated to stay active and engaged, or recover faster from an illness or injury.
Spiritually can help older adults focus on connecting with others, finding meaning and purpose in life and stay engaged with the community around them. Those are all good things!
“Spirituality encompasses wide ranging attitudes and practices which focus on the search for meaning in human lives, particularly in terms of relationships, values and the arts.” –George Mackay Brown
Regardless of whether older adults ascribe to a particular religion or not, they can most likely benefit from talking about spiritual matters. Conversations between older adults and their families can clarifying values and beliefs–they can identify what the family treasures and help with the process of aging and change.
Candid discussions about faith and spirituality can provide a foundation for choices and decisions that may need to be made later in life.
Note that your beliefs may be different than that of your aging parents. Make sure to listen and honor and what they personally value.
Christian Health Care Center in Lynden, WA is a local eldercare facility that understands the importance of spirituality in the lives of those we serve. Our staff help prepare spouses and adult children for conversations just like these–we also counsel and support older adults who may not have family to talk with.
Tim Johnson and Gary Vanhulzen personally counsel long-term care residents—they also coordinate with various local religious leaders and lay people who offer regular scheduled services at CHCC.
Our spiritual support team also organizes a weekly family support group meeting that allows family members, spouses and loved ones to reminiscence, share life stories, and connect with people on a similar life path.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of spiritual support, or programs offered at CHCC, contact Gary Vanhulzen at 360-354-4434 or via email.