April 15, 2014

Benefits of Religion and Spirituality on Seniors

Aviv Centers for Living strives to enrich the lives of all its seniors.  With all of our services on one campus, we are able to serve seniors in a wide variety of programs, activities and services. This includes physical, emotional, social and religious and/or spiritual needs.  Let’s look more closely at how religion and spiritualism can benefit seniors.
Seniors who take part in a religious community can benefit in a long list of ways.  Here are just a few of the benefits that being a part of a religious group or spiritual practices can have.

  • Improved mood and outlook – A number of studies have shown individuals that actively practice their religion experience physiological benefits including a more positive and hopeful attitude about life and illness. Sometimes seniors become isolated when they move into a retirement community, and this may have a negative impact on their moods. Attending church can not only get them out of their residence and into the community, but it can also help them see all the good in the world and give their life a deeper meaning. (Merck Study 2015)
  • Sense of community – As indicated by religious support systems, churches often foster satisfying social networks among seniors. A study, published in the journal American Sociological Review, showed that 28 percent of individuals who attended a religious ceremony every week were “extremely satisfied” with their lives, as opposed to the less than 20 percent of people who did not attend services. In addition to the benefit of elevated mood, seniors may also find that a religious community helps them make new friends and stay social after they move to a senior living community.
  • Longevity – Many studies are showing that adults who are religious and/or spiritual live longer than those who have no belief in a higher power. Increased longevity can be traced to a number of known factors that reduce stress and thus contribute to good health: belonging to a group or community and believing that your life has meaning. One theory posits that reduced cardiovascular risk, possibly related to lifestyle or other cardio-protective effects of religious behavior, increases longevity among healthy, religious persons. (Senior Advisors Online)