What’s the key to aging well? It’s just one factor of many, but engaging with spirituality and religion consistently improves quality of life for seniors, leading to several positive effects. At Ebenezer, we’re proud of our Faith Foundations cornerstone and strongly believe in the value of spiritual support. With that in mind, here are five benefits to embracing spirituality later in life.
As we age, transitioning out of our careers and moving past the years when we’re most needed as parents, it becomes extremely important to find new ways of engaging, exploring, and encouraging others. Research is showing that spirituality can play a part in helping seniors with healthy, positive aging by providing a sense of structure and understanding for our lives. Connecting to something larger than ourselves, serving others, and thinking beyond our own situation can truly improve the quality of our days.
Seniors with spiritual support gain access to the rich community that characterizes faith groups. Pursuing connections and investing in relationships, new and old, makes every day worth celebrating. By attending worship services, joining book or Bible studies, and sharing open conversations with other members of our faith, we form and strengthen relationships that enhance our lives – and when a senior living community supports and encourages religious involvement, the social benefits spread throughout the community.
Seeing challenges arise in our life and the lives of the people we love can be difficult to manage. How we handle those challenges, and maintain a sense of hope in the face of them, has big implications for our health in later years. Spirituality and religion can provide a strong support, lifting our spirits when we need it most. Connecting to faith gives seniors a mental boost to cope with illness and loss and helps them maintain the positivity that leads to recovery and new beginnings.
Keeping our brains active and engaged as we age is hugely important, and spirituality provides a jolt to our brainpower. Studies have shown that practicing religion helps to slow cognitive decline, and for seniors living with dementia and other forms of memory loss, it can help reduce or stabilize cognitive disorders. Improving our mental capacity means improving every aspect of our life, from our health to our relationships and our daily activities.
Along with increasing brain function and offering an outlet for personal connection, religion and spirituality provide real psychological benefits that help improve health outcomes overall. Seniors who rely on faith enjoy a more positive and hopeful attitude about life and illness, which actually predicts better health outcomes. They are less likely to develop depression and anxiety, and because of their renewed sense of purpose, they tend to have healthier habits and relationships. In short, belief, positivity, and hope lead to tangible improvements in our health and wellness.
At Ebenezer, our faith-based programming is ecumenically diverse, and we’re blessed to have residents and staff from a variety of religious traditions. You can read more about our Faith Foundations cornerstone at our Programs & Services page, and make sure to visit our blog for more helpful articles on health and wellness.