Fulfilled living in later life

Wednesday 18th November 2020

Guidance for faith organisations supporting older people

Guidanceforchristianfaithorganisationsinthesupportofolderpeople background

Our sister charity Faith in Later Life has published a new resource

As a society, our population is ageing – in 2019 there were 11.9 million UK residents aged 65 years and over, representing 18% of the population. This is likely to increase over the next 40 years to 26%. The biggest increases will be in the numbers of the ‘oldest old’ – the so-called fourth age.

In conjunction with Professor Keith Brown of Bournemouth University, our sister charity Faith in Later Life has published a new resource which aims to equip the church to care for and support its oldest members. Entitled ‘Guidance for Christians for Christian faith organisations in the support and value of older people’, the resource is free to download from the Faith in Later Life website.

As well as providing practical guidance and support to individuals who find themselves caring for the older generation, the resource is designed to challenge churches to think seriously about how well they are serving their oldest members.

The introduction states, “The church has a proud history of caring for the marginalised in our society and we are now becoming increasingly aware that lonely elderly citizens are amongst the most vulnerable and marginalised… This guidance is a call for a renewed sense of mission and support to those in the fourth age.”

The resource offers guidance on a broad range of issues affecting older people including the church’s role in fighting loneliness and isolation, older people living in care homes, supporting people living with dementia and ministries among older people. Interspersed are the stories of older people and the challenges they have faced.

Speaking at the launch of the resource Professor Keith Brown said, “It’s a wonderful thing that people are getting to older age. As a church we have been good at looking at the needs of children and families. We haven’t got the same pedigree of standing up for older people. We need to start listening to them.”

He also highlighted how older people have much to offer the younger generation in terms of wisdom and expertise, especially given the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. “These are godly men and women who have served the church over many years and many of whom are real prayer warriors. Boy do we need these people at this time.”

Download the resource here.

Do you know an older person who you could encourage this Christmas? At Pilgrims’ Friend Society, we’ve recently launched special Christmas and New Year editions of our Brain and Soul Boosting for Seniors resources, with activities to share either in person or over a video call. Download for free here.