The demographic of 65 and older is very large and very diverse. A healthy ministry with and for older adults may look very different from one congregation to the next. We chose because they affect just about everyone at some point or other in their life journey. There are important stories built around these life passages and they offer times for growth for the disciple, and also times for service to the disciple as the case may be.
The scripture is clear: with age comes wisdom. In a society that ‘worships’ youth, it is good for the church to bring the biblical perspective to bear. All generations benefit from significant time together. The time can be one-to-one or corporate in design, but intentionality is key. It won’t happen well on its own.
Health and Wellness
This is a subject that is important for any age, but it certainly can ‘come home to roost’ if we haven’t been a good steward of our health earlier. And even with good care, our bodies will not do what they once did and so we adjust. Here again is an opportunity for: 1) encouraging a proactive approach to health and; 2) providing care and support as needed when health fails, for church members and community neighbors alike.
Independence to Dependence/Interdependence
The time will come for all of us, sooner or later. We will have to make some decisions about next steps, as our health fails and our needs grow. It is clear from professionals working in the Senior Care Facility world, many do not make the decisions ahead of time. Too often they are making the decision in crisis mode, and the options available have dramatically declined. There is a great opportunity here to help members and community neighbors alike approach this proactively.
Closely connected to the previous subject is the new role of “Caregiver”. And ALOA wants to encourage a more reciprocal view of that relationship. It is not all a one way street, hence the shift to “CARESHARING”. There is need for support for both the Caregiver and the recipient. And this affects members and community neighbors alike.
End of Life
One final area we’ll all experience, death! Not too many years ago, death happened in the home, with family close, and the length of time relatively short. Now, the medical community can do so many amazing things for intervention at the end. We look for some kind of ‘hope’ to get better and the medical community wants to offer it. How do we decide about the next medical step? What is important at the end of life for me and for my family? Many questions to think about, and talking about them before a crisis can reduce stress and help to focus on the real Hope we have in Christ.