by Jason Lewis
Research shows that attending church every week boosts your immunity and lowers blood pressure. Going to church has also been linked to increasing one’s life span by up to 33 percent. A study of cancer patients who regularly attended church showed a better response to treatment and kept living a relatively normal life despite the diagnosis.
At St. Gertrude’s Catholic Church, we welcome attendees from all walks of life, but we have a special place in our hearts for seniors. Here, we offer several reasons why attending church improves the health of older adults
Christianity advocates for a healthy lifestyle
Certainly, some churchgoers struggle with unhealthy behaviors. However, on average, people who attend church regularly drink less, unlikely to engage in promiscuous behavior or consume recreational drugs.
In the face of sickness, Christians are encouraged to keep doing their part in sustaining their health even as they rely on God for healing. Going to church provides seniors an opportunity to get active. Even simple activities such as standing, clapping and lifting hands in praise and worship can have a beneficial impact on seniors who are minimally active. Additionally, senior churchgoers can meet up for workout sessions through the SilverSneakers program. SilverSneakers, which is offered by many Medicare Advantage plans and through some churches, allows seniors to use participating fitness facilities without any additional fees.
Churches promote mental health by offering social support to older members
Isolation is the leading cause of depression and suicide among seniors. Many older adults spend their days alone with no one to interact with. Isolation leads to chronic loneliness, which is a risk factor for numerous mental health diseases including depression, being suicidal and anxiety disorders among others.
Churches form communities of people who look out for each other. Frequently going to church enables seniors to meet and foster supportive relationships with other churchgoers. These friendships go beyond the church environment to visiting each other and doing activities together.
In times of need, church members come together to support one of their own. The social support offers seniors a sense of belonging. Joining Bible studies and prayer groups provide them with something to look forward to and reduce periods of isolation.
Christianity promotes a positive outlook
High stress levels and low coping abilities are another common cause of mental health illnesses. Attending service, worshipping, prayer and fellowshipping with other people offer a burdened and stressed person respite through seeking support, guidance, and relief from a higher power. As a result, churchgoers report lower stress levels, greater problem-solving ability and improved resilience.
Christianity emphasizes the need to live life from a joyful place. When going through tough times, your faith in Jesus and a verse from the Bible will encourage you to hold on, and you can count on your church community to provide plenty of support. This support and reverence promote a positive outlook, leading to a more happier, fulfilling life.
Technology has revolutionized many areas of our lives, and the church has not been left behind. Churches are now able to reach a wider audience through live broadcast and televangelism. Therefore, even elderly people who have limited mobility can still enjoy the benefits of attending church from the comfort of their homes.
Photo credit: Pexels