Before this year, I admit I hadn’t thought much about Spiritual Care for elderly people, but in the last year I had the privilege of working for Baptist Housing at a Seniors Independent Living Residence called Shannon Oaks. I had the opportunity to interact with seniors and listen to their stories and struggles as they adjusted to new realities. I interacted with people caring for their spouses with dementia, grappling with a reduced sense of independence, grieving the loss of loved ones, and facing moving out of their family home.
There’s a temptation, sometimes, for us to think these aren’t issues we need to worry about. But as I reflected on my life I realized I have had to come face to face with these realities as people in my life entered and go through these seasons of change as well. My grandmother as she bravely faced dementia in her final years; my other grandmother as she slowly loses her ability to care for herself; and my grandparents who are fighting to stay healthy so they can stay in their own home.
I continue to run into people caring for family members who are facing the challenges of aging.
What if our churches were equipped to spiritually care well for our aging parents, grandparents, friends, neighbours and community? Not only would we be living out Jesus’ example of caring for the marginalized but we would be creating opportunities to share the hope that Jesus has to offer as people approach the end of their lives. It’s interesting to note that in the last Canadian census, BC’s population of people over 65 (18.3%) exceeded the number of people under 15 (14.9%). This number is expected to grow opening up a need in our communities that has never been so great. This a very present and real reality in our communities. I would wager a guess that you could pick at least one person in your own life that has experienced this stage of aging and would benefit from a community that is equipped and mobilized to effectively care for them. This is also an opportunity for us to expand God’s kingdom by caring well for people as they face the challenges of aging and the changing family dynamics that come with this new stage of life.
Through the support of Baptist Housing, The Fellowship now has the opportunity to provide training for our churches called the Spiritual Care Series that equips people to face this challenge of providing purposeful and effective spiritual care for seniors. Here’s some reasons why this might be something for you to consider:
It is a thorough, well-researched and thoughtful approach to equipping people who care for seniors to understand topics like the aging journey, good communication, grief and dying.
It is easy to participate - All the training is done through professionally produced videos, and a facilitator helps you stay on track and ensure you don’t get left behind.
It is an opportunity to have meaningful involvement no matter what age or activity level you are.
Finally, it’s a chance to grow and develop as a leader and increase your capacity to influence, love, and change someone’s life for the better!
If you are interested in participating in a Spiritual Care Series reach out to your local church, or contact us.