The Bible describes older people as especially precious and worthy of respect. The Bible is also clear that limitation and loss are part of growing old, but not at the expense of service and purpose.

But that is not how most people experience older age today.

Loneliness is endemic

Of the 11.8m people aged over 65 in the UK, nearly a third – more than 3.6 million people - live alone, while over 1 million older people are ageing without children. These numbers will rise steeply over the coming years as our population ages. 

Care and support is fragmented

While we may all assume that healthcare professionals will keep a gentle eye on the well-being of older people who live at home and whose health is of concern or in decline, this can no longer be guaranteed, because of over-stretched health and social care services, and fragmentation between them. 

People who care can be overwhelmed

Where an older person has a family to provide support, a loved one will often ‘hold the ring’ for an older person in this position, chasing progress and joining up services for them. This job often falls to an adult child, or an ageing partner, which is often very challenging. And where churches are seeking to be the arms and legs of Christ in their wider community, they will increasingly see more older people who are lonely, isolated and who may be facing death without the hope of eternity with our Lord. 

Churches will increasingly have more people with multiple needs that stretch the capacities of families and Christian brothers and sisters to care. They will need Christian residential care homes and other agencies to partner with them in their caring responsibilities. 

Pilgrims' Friend Society aims to work in partnership with local churches so that everyone has access to wonderful Christian care and no-one living in the communities around local churches dies without having had the opportunity to meet with other people and to hear the gospel. 

 

Back to the Bible

The solution to this challenging situation is for the country to rediscover the Biblical truth that older people are precious and that they have gifts and abilities and a calling to serve.  The rate of ageing is such that it will be older people who share the gospel with young and alike (with fellow pensioners and with their grandchildren).  It will be older people who make friends to address loneliness and the like, and churches following this Biblical pattern are wonderfully placed to be the light that shows the rest of Society how to respond.

Join us during the week of 9 – 16 June in praying for these matters and the needs of elderly people in our churches and our communities everywhere.

As the nation celebrates National Carers Week, please pray for the 6.5 million people in the UK who care for the elderly, the sick and the disabled. They too are at risk of isolation. Pray for people in your church and for charities like Pilgrims' Friend Society working to care and support families who care.

Thank you for standing with us in prayer. 

Download the Prayer Resource here: 

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Large Print Version   - Singles

Large Print Version - Spread

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