Spirituality and Older Adults
The Bible says, “Remember your Creator in the days of your youth”, but we forget the rest of the chapter which speaks specifically about older adults. One of the lines (vss. 4,5) speak to the fears of seniors: “When people rise up at the sound of birds, but all their songs grow faint; when people are afraid of heights and of danger in the streets.” Seniors have unique desires, unique qualities and unique fears. We do not desire the same things as a twenty-one year old adult. The music, the things that wowed us at 21 may not wow us at 71. Our resources are different- we may not run as fast but we have more life-experiences to draw from. Seniors also have unique fears. It is to this that I want us to think about today. There is always a spiritual dimension to finding peace and avoiding fear. The number one fear of seniors for the last forty years is running out of money and having to be a burden on our children/grandchildren. Many know of this fear and prey on older adults. Long Term Care Insurers will tell you, for example that 60% of older adults will experience a nursing home stay. What they don’t tell you, is that most of that 60% do not stay there long. Only 20% stay longer than six months at a time. People are not only living longer, they are living healthier lives longer. My brother who turns 75 this year biked over 1,100 miles from Colorado to South Carolina by himself. It is maybe an illusion to think we will have the same stamina that we had in our twenties, but it is also an illusion to think that the minute I turn 70 I will go to a nursing home. People are entering retirement homes at a later age today than twenty years ago. My parents entered when they turned 70. Now many will not think of entering before 80.
Fear can drive us in directions like cattle stampeding for a cliff. But the good news is that God is a God of peace. God can remind us to not be afraid. When Jesus came the angels message was to not be afraid - for there is good news of great joy. If we do not let fear grip us, we can really truly enjoy our later years more than any other time in our lives. We don’t have to have the stress of raising children or the stress of the daily grind of work. Do not just remember your Creator in your youth, remember Him each day. Each day is a gift.