Today is the National Day of Prayer in the United States, specifically. However, in early March, it was World Prayer Day celebrated in many countries around the globe. This made us think about faith, spirituality and the elderly.
When we talk about faith and spirituality, it encompasses traditional religious forms of prayer and celebration shared by those of the Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, and many more religions. However, it also includes a feeling that there is a higher power, spirit, or energy in our lives. This feeling provides us with calm, peace of mind, and connectedness to ourselves, others, and nature.
Benefits of Spirituality in Seniors
For many, having a spiritual connection can provide a greater sense of wellness.
For seniors with Dementia, the guiding practices and repetition of prayer and religious ceremony and tradition can help "slow cognitive decline and reduce or stabilize cognitive disorders", according to International Psychogeriatrics. Faith and prayer can improve the quality of life of seniors and helps to find meaning, maintain relationships and provide hope as they age.
For many seniors, their faith and spirituality connect them with a community of others. The community may be friends, family members, places of worship, or even just a feeling of belonging with a congregation of those who share their beliefs and traditions. Everyone wants to belong, even more so as seniors become more isolated and disconnected from loved ones during this pandemic.
Having a sense of community ties into the practice of socialization. When participating in a faith practice, it may be an individual action shared by many, however, it is their engagement through conversation, events, song, and story-telling that truly creates a social experience. This socialization increases feelings of joy, connectedness, and reduces anxiety, stress, and feelings of loneliness or depression.
Gathering as an individual or as a group, within a place of worship or in a community room at their retirement home, to celebrate a religious holiday, healing ceremony, meditation, or in activities, such as games and crafts, can truly benefit those in our care who are most vulnerable. Encouraging interaction, participation, and gathering for faith and spiritual practices can make a difference in a senior's feeling of hope and healing.
For more information on Health & Wellness, or to connect with us regarding services for you or a senior family member or friend, visit our website today.
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