As people age, they tend to suffer a series of losses:
- loss of the senses – hearing, sight, taste
- loss of friends and relatives whom they outlive
- loss of work or a sense of purpose (in many cases)
- loss of driving and the freedom & independence that brings
- loss of control over life generally with increased medical problems, doctor visits, perhaps where the senior needs to live for health or financial reasons
- loss of a social life (with the living situation & end of driving)
- loss of memory for many (or general confusion in some cases)
All of these can be a source for feeling left out and alienated. But as they start stacking up, these mounting losses can pave the way for depression and at times leave the individual pining for death and remove the desire to go to church or feel like a part of the community.
What can be done to help regarding alienation, the elderly, and the church?
Some elderly people stop going to church or religious services even though in the past it was life-giving for them because the effort has become so great and once they get there, the acoustics may not be good for them to hear what is going on (and in many cases they may not be able to see what is happening either). In a large place of worship, they may be too far away to be able to follow, so attending may be an exercise in frustration for them. They are surrounded by others but definitely feel alone. (more…)