As parents age, many adult children accommodate their temporal needs by taking them shopping, cleaning their house, and performing other helpful deeds. Elderly parents also have spiritual needs that should not be ignored. Most religions teach that humans are more than simply a physical body; humans have a mind and a spirit as well. There are several ways adult children can meet their parents’ spiritual needs by attending to all three dimensions: body, mind and spirit. Body
How can adult children meet the bodily spiritual needs of their parents? Many senior citizens have difficulty driving and appreciate having a ride to their house of worship. Even if you don’t live in the same town, many houses of worship will provide rides if you call. If your parent is homebound or in the hospital, you can arrange for their spiritual leader to visit them, administer sacraments, and so forth.
Senior citizens enjoy meeting people their own age at their place of worship. Take them to small group scripture studies, prayer meetings, and other activities if they need transportation. Many seniors miss the days when they could prepare meals for potluck dinners or hold a small group at their house. Helping prepare a potluck dish or clean house in preparation for a group meeting can help your parent be an active participant in his or her spiritual community again.
Your parent’s mind should be nourished spiritually. Does he or she have a favorite religious author? Buy some books they’d like, or borrow them from the library. Perhaps your parents have a favorite religious speaker. Whether you take them across town to hear a speaker or on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to meet the pope, your parents will cherish the memory.
Older people want to give as well as receive. Your parents may no longer to be able to get on the floor with little kids, but they may be able to teach an adult class. Do your parents like to write? Encourage them to set their insights and faith to paper.
Even if your parent has Alzheimer’s, don’t discount ministering to your parent’s mind. Studies show that information and skills that have been over-learned are the last to disappear in dementia patients. Some patients who are otherwise unable to read can still comprehend passages of scripture that they have long learned by heart.
It is crucial to care for your parents’ spirit or soul. Even if your parents do not have any life-threatening illnesses, they are still aware that death is closer than it used to be. Psychologists affirm that one of the most basic needs of all people, especially as death approaches, is to feel that their lives counted. If you owe your own religious belief to your parents’ teaching or example, tell them so. If you and your parents have frequently sparred over religious differences, declare a truce, and tell them what you admire about their faith.
These ideas can be applied to any religion or denomination. You don’t even need to subscribe to your parents’ beliefs to meet their spiritual needs. Helping them is one of the greatest gifts you can give your parents, and is probably an answer to their prayers!
Author Bio: Angela Barton is a lifestyle consultant for seniors and suggests that you click here for a beautiful selection of assisted living centers in the greater Los Angeles and Ventura counties of California.