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Hands of a senior woman while praying in a church/DepositPhoto

Benefits for Seniors to Get Involved In Church

Benefits for Seniors to Get Involved In Church

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Many seniors lead active, thriving lives. They find that their golden years are a time to do things they perhaps didn’t have time for earlier on in their lives, such as traveling, learning new skills, and spending time with loved ones.

There are some risk factors that occur in the senior years that can make people more likely to experience depression, isolation, and loneliness, however. It’s important to be mindful of these risks if you have an older loved one, particularly since we’ve been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for the past two years.

If you have an older relative and you want to make sure they stay active, engaged, and thrive, you can encourage them to participate in church. There are both religious and non-religious reasons that church can be beneficial.

The Music

When older people go to church, they can enjoy the music. Music is powerful in many ways. In fact, there are music therapists who work with individuals and groups. The benefits of music therapy are emotional, behavioral, physical, social, and cognitive.

Music therapy in group settings can promote social interactions and help keep the brain resilient. Older people don’t have to directly participate in music to get the benefits. Just being around it is beneficial.

Support

When you participate in a church community, no matter what age group you’re in, you develop an automatic, built-in support group. You’re making new friends in a very easy way. As we get older, we tend to lose friends for different reasons, but the church becomes a community of local people who are going to welcome you.

Also, there’s a sense of accountability that comes with a church support system. For example, if someone regularly attends church and they don’t come one week, they’re going to have people who are calling and visiting them to check in.

Reduces Loneliness

Even for shy people or introverts, being around other people on a regular basis is important.

When you’re younger, you’re around people just by the nature of living your daily life. You might go to work every day, you’re probably around your immediate family, and you may also be around people because you’re raising children and attending their sports and activities.

Most of these things go away as you get older, leading to loneliness.

Going to church can surround older people with other individuals, so they feel connected.

Loneliness leads to both mental and physical health conditions, particularly as we age, so it’s important to take steps to combat it.

Prayer Increases Your Sense of Well-Being

There is a relationship between regular prayer and improved feelings of well-being. People who pray tend to manage stress better, and they’re often more forgiving and friendlier.

Praying individually or in a group can be a powerful experience for many people.

It can have a lot of the same benefits as meditation. Research shows that meditation can physically affect your brain in positive ways, as seen in imaging studies.

There is a sense of peace of mind that can come from religion. Many people who are religious or regularly attend church say they feel an inner peace that they don’t get from anything else.

There have been numerous studies finding that people actively practicing their religion have a more hopeful, positive attitude. It can give life a deeper meaning.

Going to Church Keeps People Physically Active

When someone gets older, it becomes more difficult to be physically active. Someone might not necessarily be able to work out every day as they’re older, but going to church does get them moving.

That movement could be a motivation for your loved one to do more to be physically active, like starting to take regular walks.

Other Activities and Volunteer Opportunities

Most churches aren’t just about the services. There are small groups, activities, and volunteer opportunities that can arise through the church.

Churches tend to be very connected to communities. Older people who regularly go to church might then find there are opportunities for other activities.

Many older adults want to make positive contributions to their community and give back, but they don’t know where to start. Church can provide the foundation to explore the opportunities they’re interested in.

If your loved one is hesitant to start going to church, you can help them by either encouraging them to start by enjoying services online or if you live nearby, you might go to a few churches with them so they can find one they like.

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