Attending Church Benefits the Mind and Body of Seniors
It’s easy to see how attending church services can be good for the spirit, but did you know that church can provide other, more tangible benefits as well? Church can have a positive influence on mental and physical health. Attending church is especially helpful to seniors and older adults for a variety of reasons. Here are five of the many ways that church can improve the lives of seniors and help them find happiness.
Supplies Social Support and Activity
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. Attending church provides a weekly activity and social connections, which are beneficial for mental health. Going to church may help fend off isolation and depression, which can lead to unsafe behavior, such as abuse of alcohol or prescription medications. The social support and routine of regular church services can be enough to strengthen the emotions of the elderly.
Offers Connection to Other Generations
Church offers the opportunity for social connections and one of the most important for seniors is a connection to younger generations. These connections are mutually beneficial and often missed as older adults move away from their careers and into retirement. Seniors who may not have children or grandchildren, or do not have them living nearby, can feel comforted by passing on wisdom and advice to younger people. Children and younger adults also benefit from these connections, allowing seniors the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of other.
Church Can Be Good for Your Health
Participating in religious services is an obvious cure for loneliness and boredom, but did you know it could also help with illness and disease? Studies have shown that adults who attend church services tend to have lower blood pressure, which leads to longer life. Whether it is the social connection, the power of prayer or a sense of purpose, church tends to add years of health to the lives of those who attend regularly. Seniors who attend church may also have stronger immune systems and are less likely to be impacted by illness, but they also have the support of the community if they do become ill.
Offers a Chance for Contemplation
Services at church involve socializing but there are also vast opportunities for quiet contemplation. Prayer can be a form of mindful meditation and meditation is well known to relieve stress and improve overall well-being. Moments during services often call for silence and ask attendees to turn inward with prayer and contemplation. Seniors can take these quiet moments at church to reflect on their emotions and life, and feel a connection to a greater purpose and power in the world.
Opportunities to Give Back
Most churches include charity as part of religious services and these volunteer opportunities can be especially beneficial for the elderly. Giving back has been proven to produce positive side effects on the physical and mental health of those who participate, while helping others in need. Seniors can find a sense of purpose in their church-related charity and volunteer work, and can also find further social connection and purposeful activity.
Church has much more to offer than spiritual salvation. Participating in weekly church services allows lonely adults to connect with others in a positive way. Church also provides ample opportunity for activity and action that can really make a difference in the health and happiness of seniors in the community.
Jason Lewis is passionate about helping seniors stay healthy and injury-free. He created StrongWell.org to share his tips on senior fitness. In 2002 he became the primary caretaker for his mother after her surgery. From then on, he made it his advocacy to help fellow caregivers in ensuring wellness for seniors.