The pace of today's world can make it difficult for people of any age to seek meaningful connections with each other, and factors relevant to aging can compound those challenges. Giving up a driver's license, seeing social circles evolve or shrink over time and feeling limited by health issues are just some reasons seniors may feel isolated. And without action, social isolation and loneliness can lead to negative outcomes.
Luckily, there are plenty of things seniors of faith can do to make connections and avoid isolation.
According to the National Institute on Aging, staying socially active to combat feelings of loneliness or isolation has a positive impact on more than your mood. Research indicates that isolation can lead to negative consequences for physical and mental health, including depression, anxiety, higher blood pressure, obesity, compromised immune system and cognitive decline. Many health care professionals believe the issue is a use-it-or-lose-it effect, and seniors that aren't active with others may move, converse and use brain functions less.
One way seniors of faith can combat this issue is by leveraging spiritual connections. Here are some ways your faith can lead you to avoid isolation and loneliness.
Whether you're part of a congregation that has been your church home for years or you've moved as part of downsizing and chosen a new faith family, church membership can help stave off loneliness. Being part of a specific congregation helps seniors integrate into a larger family of God and calls them to be active in whatever way they can, whether that's teaching, volunteering or just attending events as they're able. Church membership also helps you make faith friends of all ages who can visit and support you whether times are good or challenging.
Outside of your home congregation, there are plenty opportunities to connect with like-minded individuals over your faith. Consider finding out about Bible studies, prayer groups or other events in your area. You can search your location via CommunityBibleStudy.org, check local church websites or ask about book clubs at local Christian bookstores. And older adults who reside in any of the Bethesda Senior Living Communities can take part in worship events right on the properties.
For seniors who have moved into one of our assisted living communities, being willing to take advantage of new social opportunities can be critical to battling isolation. Get out of your own assisted living apartment and wonder through the community; take part in planned social activities, eat in the dining areas and spend time exploring amenities such as common rooms, gardens or libraries. Strike up conversations with others as you do, sharing your own stories and faith testimony to create connections that help you begin new friendships.
You're never too old for new friends, and Bethesda Senior Living Communities are an ideal place to make them.
Posted on Thu, August 15, 2019
by Shawn Deane