Ask the Expert: How Are Spiritual Needs Met at MacIntosh?

Woman with hands in prayer

Dear Elonda,

My mom is going to be moving into a MacIntosh senior living community soon for assisted living. For the most part, she is ready for the move but there is one thing she’s worried about—her religion.

Mom was raised Catholic and is very devout. She attends weekly Mass and before her health issues made it harder for her to drive, she was very active in her church community. She’s worried that it’s going to be hard for her to maintain her spiritual side once she moves. Can you help set her mind at ease?

Paul L.

Hilliard, Ohio

 

Dear Paul,

Absolutely. There are many ways that MacIntosh care communities meet the needs of both assisted living residents and inpatient rehabilitation patients. We understand that spirituality and religion are important aspects of seniors’ lives, and we do everything we can to ensure that their spiritual needs are being met. I’ll walk you through some of the things we offer so you can share that information with your mother.

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Related: Independent Living vs. Assisted Living: Which Is the Best Fit?

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Meeting the Spiritual Needs of Residents and Patients at MacIntosh Rehab and Senior Living Communities

One of the first things that will happen when your mother moves in is that she will meet with an activities director at her community to discuss her interests and wants. One of the things we’ll ask her is how we can service her religious or spiritual needs.

As you can imagine, we hear a lot of different answers to that question. For example, some people enjoy attending regular services while others prefer to have communion brought to them in their room. Still others do not belong to any religions and would rather not attend any religious or spiritual gatherings—which is perfectly fine. In the end, we leave it up to the individual to decide what they would like to do (or not do). Our job is to provide them the proper avenues to express their faith or spirituality.

Most communities have religious and spiritual programs in place already that your mom can join in on when she arrives. For example, at Mill Run Rehabilitation Center, Skilled Nursing & Assisted Living in Hilliard, Ohio, we work with around 7-8 area churches that represent a variety of faiths. Representatives from those churches come at different times to offer a wide range of services to residents.

You mentioned your mother was raised Catholic—another example of a religious service offered to residents is a regular rosary service (in addition to weekly Catholic Masses).

We also offer non-denominational services on a weekly basis. That is such a popular event that people from all different religions gather together for it. Family members and guests are also welcome to attend with their loved ones at the community.

We try to have a wide variety available to residents to meet the needs of the population as a whole. However, if a resident expresses a religious or spiritual need that is not currently being met, we have contacts within the surrounding community that we can call and ask to come in to meet those needs. We’re blessed with many area religions who are generous with their time.

Why Spiritual Needs of Older Adults Matter in Residential Communities

Offering the proper religious and spiritual services is something we take very seriously. Having a healthy spiritual life as we age can help us deal with loss, cope with the sense that our purpose is changing and face physical illnesses—all things that often come with age.

Having a strong spiritual life can also help form a sort of mental resilience, research shows.

“The findings suggest that older adults who derive a sense of meaning in life from religion tend to have higher levels of life satisfaction, self-esteem, and optimism,” writes Neal Krause in “Religious Meaning and Subjective Well-Being in Late Life.”

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Related: 7 Tips to Keep Your Senior Active Physically & Mentally

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I hope this was helpful! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Elonda Hall
Life Enrichment Director
Mill Run Rehabilitation Center, Skilled Nursing & Assisted Living