How can we make our churches safe places for older adults, where they are empowered and supported?
Include older adults in family and church gatherings.
Provide activities, such as study groups, gatherings, visitations, etc. that create and maintain older adults’ contact with the church and community. Make sure these activities allow older adults to speak honestly about their relationships.
Offer training, counselling and support to caregivers.
Develop a help list for elderly adults and concerned friends and neighbours, with phone numbers and names for police, hospitals, home nursing services, etc.
Use positive and realistic depictions of older adults In worship services.
Provide hearing aid facilities in the sanctuary.
Read and talk about aging as a natural process. Obtain and share accurate information about the needs of seniors and available resources.
Listen to elderly people; hear their stories and pay attention to their concerns about themselves and other people. Respond in a way that respects their abilities, autonomy and privacy.
Address the faith concerns of the elderly, such as suffering, the providence of God, grace and vocation, the dignity of life and death.
Encourage various forms of lay ministry with older adults in the congregation and community.
In addition, churches can respond to and prevent abuse with these steps:
Learn about family violence and ways to identify cases of elder abuse.
Locate available resources and develop the necessary skills for intervening in crisis situations.
Identify people in your congregation who are able to communicate and work with abused older adults.
Provide financial and personal support to community efforts at confronting elder abuse.
Break the silence about elder abuse in our communities and teach older adults to protect themselves.