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“They will bear fruit in old age . . . “(Psalm 92:14)

America’s 76 million baby boomers – currently aged 40 to 58 – are ushering in a new age of elder Image of nurse.spirituality. Not only will they be the largest group of “senior citizens” this country has ever seen, but longer life spans mean they will be older longer. By the year 2030, one in every four Virginians will be age 60 and older, at which point, Virginia will look like Florida does today.

  • Religion and associated activities are common among older adults: 9 of 20 older adults rate faith as important in their lives.
  • Studies have shown that older people who engage in religious and spiritual practice often cope better psychologically and have better physical health than those who don’t.
  • With a loss there is a natural desire to find the kind of kinship, support and sources of meaning and purpose that religious and spiritual communities offer. Those who attend religious services or who engage in spiritual practices, such as prayer or meditation, are likely to live longer, feel better and enjoy life more fully.
  • Because many of the present cohorts of elderly were religious in their youth, a large percentage of them will retain their religious interest as they age.
  • At the time when religious support is most needed, older persons are less able to access it (due to failing health, immobility or lack of transportation).
  • 40 – 60% of parishes are composed of retired persons. Although diversity is a hall mark of senior population, some changes do accompany aging, and even healthy seniors experience losses that can affect their access, level of interest and/or capacity to receive an understand information.



Make sure to include older adults in all phases of church life. Develop a “senior ministry” in the church. With the growing loss of mobility for some older persons comes isolation and loneliness. Develop a senior friend in the parish. Check on your senior friend by visiting, bringing them a weekly bulletin or praying with them in their home weekly or assisting them to weekly services in the church. “Adopt” a nursing home. Visit residents from the parish who are nursing home bound on a regular basis and during the holiday season.



Area Agency on Aging 1-800-552-3402 or www.vda.virginia.gov

Virginia has 25 Area Agencies on Aging serving every county and city.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman is responsible for listening to concerns about the care someone is receiving in a nursing home or assisted living facility. Call you local Area Agency on aging.

Local Virginia Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program has information about Medicare, Medicaid, and prescription drug plans. Operated by your local Area Agency on Aging.

Center on Aging at Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, VA. The Director, Dr. Henry Simmons, co-wrote Soulful Aging: Ministry Through the Stages of Adulthood on religion, spirituality and aging. 804-254-8045 or email hsimmons@union-psce.educ

©2007 St. James Catholic Church, Hopewell, VA