4545 Tice Street, Ft. Myers, FL 33905 | Worship: Sundays, 10:15 am

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Health & Wholeness

Church Can Be a Blessing to Older Adults

We all know that the capacity to heal decreases as we age. With advancing years, we also know  that staying healthy and mentally sharp can become more difficult. Church, however, offers a means of improving life, both spiritually and physically. It can not only provide guidance and companionship, but also teach skills needed to maintain a good quality of life.

Live Longer

It may seem surprising, but attending a religious service may actually help to increase average lifespan. Studies have suggested the connection may decrease likelihood of death by 26 percent. The reasons are multifaceted, and hard to define with any surety. It might be the increased sense of purpose, or the optimism involved with religion. It could be improved health due to activity involved with attending both religious functions and services. What is clear is that it takes regular attendance every week to truly reap the benefit of churchgoing.

Develop Mindfulness

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. That’s why church can play an important role in teaching us to be mindful. Attending church can help to clear your thoughts and center yourself through prayer. Prayer and meditative contemplation may lower stress. This reduction in stress and anxiety may actually help to stave off addictive tendencies and developing a communal network through the church can act as additional support.

Nurture Relationships

One of the many benefits of regularly attending church is the community involved. Often, church can function as a second family, which is especially important for older adults. It’s so easy to become isolated as we age. Sometimes, families live too distantly to visit with regularity. Traveling as a senior can also be impractical, as it becomes more and more difficult to journey alone as we age. There is a mutual identity those who attend church share. Aside from service, there are often social functions on offer, with many aimed at elderly members. Therefore, not only can one foster new relationships with others, but also one older adult develops close friendships through meeting people of similar ages and experiences. These will be people who you can socialize with at least once a week. Church can provide a means to catch up after services, and gab together during shared activities that your branch may offer.

Advance Health

As discussed, there are many benefits to counter aging by attending church. However, it can also offer physical health benefits by inspiring movement in the elderly. If you attend services, especially if you go more than once a week, you will be up and walking, and moving your body. While this might seem mild, it is still exercise. This can be a gateway into dedicated exercise classes. Many churches have begun introducing workout classes designed specifically for seniors, which can provide many benefits. Additionally, seniors enrolled in certain Medicare Advantage plans can join SilverSneakers programs together and encourage one another to stay in shape — all at no additional charge! Your immune system may see a boost, and you may be less susceptible to dementia, heart disease and even diabetes.

It is easy to see why attending church services regularly can be a definitive boost to one’s quality of life. It can help you develop mindfulness, provide companionship, and offer excellent classes to improve health. These benefits are best reaped when church is attended at least weekly, if not more than just on Sunday service. If you are looking for a way to stay healthy, to find a purpose or meet others of a similar age, church may be the salvation you seek.

Jason Lewis