Guide to Spiritual Wellness for Seniors
Written by: PsychicReading.com Editorial Team - Published: Apr 21, 2022
Our well-being goes beyond just physical health and how efficiently our bodies function. People are more than their bodies; we have minds, and many think we have spirits or souls, too. So, how do you take care of your spirit? And does spiritual wellness change as you age? We created this guide to walk you through the need-to-know information on spirituality and aging. We’ll discuss how a spiritual practice can enrich your life, what kinds of habits you can incorporate into your daily routine, and where to get more information on spiritual wellness.
What Is Spiritual Wellness?
Spirituality is defined as “relating to or affecting the human spirit or soul.” It encompasses our morals, values, and life meaning. Our spirituality influences what we do in the world, and spiritual wellness is one of the aspects that affects our overall well-being. When we are spiritually “well,” our spirit is in a healthy state and we can connect with concepts that go beyond the physical and material world.
Interacting with spirituality is an exploration into the unseen realms that we tend to experience as feelings or emotions. Although your spirituality can be tied to a religion or religious activities, you don’t necessarily need to subscribe to any one belief system to cultivate a healthy state of spiritual wellness.
Why is spirituality more important as people age?
According to a study by Pew Research, people over age 66 are more likely to participate in spiritual practices and experience a sense of spiritual well-being compared to younger people. It makes sense that as people age they turn to spirituality to find answers, comfort, or simply a healthy way to understand and cope with life and the new challenges of being a senior. Some of those challenging things include:
Retiring from a career and possibly moving away from a hometown can be an exciting adventure but may also leave people without meaning or purpose.
More alone time
Without the distraction of a busy work week and raising a family, there is more time to contemplate life’s difficult questions.
As our age increases, our mobility and independence decrease. It can be a challenge to know that you can’t move around and do things like you used to.
Grieving friends and family
Aging adults will continually face the harsh reality of friends and loved ones passing away. Grief and reflections on life and death can be intense and distressing.
Spirituality and Aging
Benefits of feeling connected to your mind, body, and spirit
As we mentioned above, there are unique hardships to be faced around spirituality and aging. Contemplating existence, navigating transitions, and coming to terms with mortality are all difficult things to process. These issues can leave you feeling disconnected and distraught.
Practicing spiritual wellness can reconnect the spirit to the mind and body, restoring harmony and enabling you to handle obstacles in a healthy way. Below we created a list of a few of the benefits that come from participating in this mind-body-spirit connection:
Sense of community
Many spiritual practices can be done individually with great benefit, but exploring spirituality within a community can have even greater impact and provide a lasting support system. Belonging to a circle of friends and/or mentors creates the feeling of being part of something greater than yourself within the physical world.
Improved mental health
Through practices like meditation, researchers and individuals alike have reported the improvement or lessening of symptoms when it comes to anxiety and depression. Meditation can give people the space to quiet their mind and connect with their body and spirit, entering into a peaceful state of being.
Decreased blood pressure
Regular breathing exercises can help decrease blood pressure levels, especially in older adults. Paired with a meditation practice, taking time to breathe with intention provides a great health benefit to those prone to circulatory conditions.
Harvard University found that people attending religious services over 10-15 years had a reduced mortality rate. Consistent attendance proved to lower instances of things like addiction, depression, and suicide. One study concluded that someone could add approximately seven years to their life with maintained regular attendance.
People who struggle with insomnia can try things like a Heartfulness meditation to improve their sleep and even reduce or eliminate the need for sedative medications.
When does a senior need spiritual care?
Although spiritual care is something people should attend to no matter what’s going on in life, there are times when older adults may need extra focus in this area. Just like for people of any other age, going through an emotionally traumatic or confusing experience is hard to do alone, and spiritual care through discussion and moral support provides a comforting place to process. This kind of care should be considered around the following topics:
- Relational conflict
- Death of loved ones
- Faith crises
- Mortality and the afterlife
- Moral and ethical convictions
- Personal legacy
Types of spiritual wellness at senior living
If you’re looking to join a senior community and want to prioritize your spiritual wellness, it’s a good idea to look into how the communities you’re interested in approach spirituality. Not every community will provide spiritual care, so be sure to do your research and ask questions around each facility’s offerings.
Almost 83% of nonprofit senior living providers have some sort of faith-based affiliation in line with predominantly Lutheran, Presbyterian, or Catholic denominations. Although a facility may hold a specific religious affiliation, these communities are open to people of all faiths and beliefs. Senior communities that offer spiritual wellness may provide resources for things like:
- Support groups
- Spiritual programs
- Religious study meetings
- Transportation to local services
- On-site meditation and prayer spaces
- Yoga for seniors
- Mentorship and counseling
- Classes on spirituality
How to Practice Spiritual Wellness
We exercise to take care of our physical health, spend time with other people to grow our social skills, and prioritize alone time or therapy to keep tabs on our emotional well-being. Spiritual wellness is no different and can be fostered through regular practice. Whether or not you’re religious, there are many ways to engage with your spirituality. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
|Engaging With Your Spirituality|
There are many types of meditation, but it’s easy to get started with a simple practice. Try this easy five-minute session to begin or end each day.
Entering into a creative state helps us express and release emotions. Turn on your favorite music and dance, or sit down to draw whatever comes to mind.
Getting outside is an easy way to connect mind, body, and spirit with all the sights and sounds in nature. Go for regular walks to maintain a spiritual and physical balance.
Get involved locally by helping those around you with an organization like AmeriCorps Seniors. Older adults who volunteer their time to serve their community report improvement in their mental health and social connections.
Typically practiced within religious systems, prayer is a way to connect with God or the divine. Find comfort and peace with prayer in worship, petition, and thanksgiving.
Gratitude is another way to connect with and appreciate the world around you. Write down a few things you’re grateful for each day and consider sharing your gratitude with others.
Studying spiritual texts used by your own religion or ones you may be interested in is a great way to expand your knowledge and understanding. Consider joining or starting your own scriptural study group.
Other Spiritual Wellness Options
We’ve already discussed common spiritual wellness practices, but you may be looking for something different. Outside of the traditional religions and popular wellness methods of the day, you can also look to healers and psychics for spiritual enrichment. Although people with extrasensory abilities have been offering their services since the early 1900s, sometimes they are overlooked. We’ll discuss a few different types of clairvoyant practitioners you can work with to tap into your spirituality in a new way.
Working with the energy centers (or chakras) of the body, energy healers move “life force” energy through their clients to promote healing and restore balance. These healers recognize the scientific fact that all things in the universe are made up of vibrating molecules, and they work to manipulate these molecules through practices like Reiki, acupuncture, tapping, and light therapy.
Energy healers can be found online for distance healing and in-person appointments through a simple internet search. Prices for in-person sessions are usually more expensive at an average of about $125, while distance healing is more affordable, averaging about $75 per session.
Psychics, clairvoyants, astrologers, and tarot readers all fall into the realm of intuitive practitioners. They have an ability to know or feel something to be true without any previous knowledge or reasoning. People look to intuitives for answers and guidance on big life questions, relationship troubles, financial outlooks, and career paths. They may use tools like tarot cards and astrology charts to fuel their intuition and create a personalized reading for you.
There are a number of psychic websites like Keen, AskNow, and Kasamba that charge anywhere from $1 to $30 per minute. These are reputable sites with a large database of practitioners to choose from. You can also find local intuitives near you by searching for them online with phrases like “tarot reader near me” or “astrologer near me.” Meeting in person will cost a bit more and most likely be a flat rate for an hour-long session. These readings can range anywhere from $50 to $200 per appointment.
For those wishing to connect with people who have passed on, mediums are a way to make a connection. Their job is to bring you and your deceased loved one together to communicate a message, providing comfort and hope. It’s important to get a trustworthy medium, as this is a delicate subject that should be handled with care. Get a referral from a trusted friend and do your research to avoid fraudulent practices.
Readings with psychic mediums can be done online with a video call, over the phone, or in person. Again, pricing will vary depending on what kind of appointment you have and how long it lasts. Some mediums charge per minute while others offer flat-rate packages. Expect to pay anywhere from $2 per minute to $300 (or even more) for a one-hour session, depending on where you book the reading and the reputation of the medium.
Be wary of scams and fraud
Unfortunately, there have been many instances of fraudulent psychics, mediums, and healers running scams on vulnerable people. These con artists will take advantage of people in desperate circumstances and demand money for clairvoyant revelations. Education is the best defense against getting scammed. Let’s go over some common red flags to look out for:
- Demanding cash for answers or good fortune
- Threatening a curse or trouble to come
- Asking for your bank account, credit card numbers, or personal information
- Promises of future luck in exchange for money
Additional Spiritual Wellness Resources
- International Council on Active Aging. The ICAA created their seven dimensions of wellness, which includes spirituality. This organization is committed to bringing together like-minded individuals and companies to change the way the world thinks about aging. The ICAA website holds a wealth of knowledge, including a search tool that grants access to all their resources on spirituality.
- Mather Institute. The Mather Institute has a passion for supporting older adults and understanding the aging process as well as the issues that come with it. One of their core values is dedication to “Ways to Age Well,” including how wellness for seniors goes beyond good physical health.
- American Society on Aging. For more than 60 years, the ASA has provided older adults information around building skills, leadership, and knowledge. The organization has hosted events and creates resources around spiritual wellness for seniors. Use the search engine on the website to find specific information on spirituality.