Embracing the Divine: How Spirituality Shapes Senior Well-Being

April 19, 2024

After losing his wife of 40 years, Robert turned to spirituality as his guiding light through the darkness of grief. Each morning, he found a quiet corner of his home, lit a candle and sought comfort from a higher power. During walks along the Corbin Canyon Trail, he paused to meditate in the stillness of nature.

Through journaling, he poured out his heart in letters to his wife and found catharsis in the written word. He also found solace and compassion in his faith community, where members shared stories of love and loss. Robert honored his wife’s memory while healing through these spiritual health benefits and connections.

While the concepts are similar, being spiritual doesn’t always mean being “religious.” Religion is an organized and shared system of beliefs, practices and rituals and doctrines, whereas spirituality is broader and more personal. It’s a connection to something beyond ourselves — a higher power, humanity, the universe, nature — that helps shape our identity and perspective.

Spirituality and aging go hand in hand, and as we grow older, so may our faith. Spirituality can play a beneficial role in significant life transitions, whether it’s losing a spouse, facing a health challenge or downsizing your home to move to a senior living community,

Divine Well-Being: Health Benefits of Spirituality

Engaging in spiritual practices can offer numerous health advantages for older adults — from fostering a sense of purpose to building resilience in the face of challenges. Let’s take a look at five benefits of spirituality.

  1. Improved mental wellness: Spirituality can provide a sense of purpose, meaning and hope, enhancing overall mental health. Practices such as prayer, meditation and mindfulness have been linked to reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress among seniors.
  2. Enhanced coping mechanisms: Spirituality often provides a framework for coping with life’s challenges, including illness, loss and end-of-life issues. Belief in a higher power or a greater purpose can offer comfort, strength and resilience during difficult times, helping older adults navigate adversity with greater ease.
  3. Decreased risk of chronic diseases: Studies have shown that seniors who engage in regular spiritual practices may have a lower risk of developing certain chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. This may be attributed to lower stress levels, healthier lifestyle choices and enhanced immune function associated with spirituality.
  4. Increased social support: Participation in religious or spiritual activities for seniors can provide social support networks, fostering a sense of belonging, camaraderie and companionship. Strong social connections have been linked to improved mental and physical health outcomes, including longevity, among older adults.
  5. Boosted quality of life: Embracing spirituality can improve seniors’ lives. It can promote feelings of contentment and a deeper sense of connectedness to yourself, others and your surroundings. Through inner peace and fulfillment, older adults may experience greater joy in their later years.

The Spirituality of Aging at The Variel

The Variel’s beautiful surroundings, tailored services and amenities, and vibrant Warner Center location support and honor spiritual activities for seniors regardless of their individual beliefs, interests or preferences.

Here are a few ways to explore divine fulfillment and discover spiritual health benefits in our senior living community:

  • Practice meditation and mindfulness techniques to help quiet your mind, reduce stress, and foster a sense of inner peace and tranquility.
  • Participate in religious or spiritual services, whether in person or virtually, to connect with your faith community, seek guidance and find solace in shared beliefs.
  • Find a cozy spot to journal your thoughts and feelings, express gratitude and gain clarity.
  • Spread kindness and foster a sense of connection, purpose and fulfillment through volunteer work or other acts of service.
  • Try gentle movement exercises like yoga and tai chi to promote balance and flexibility, while encouraging a deeper connection between your mind, body and spirit.
  • Engage in creative pursuits such as painting, drawing, writing poetry or playing music to tap into your inner creativity, express yourself and find joy in the artistic process.
  • Join group discussions or book clubs focused on spiritual topics for intellectual stimulation and meaningful conversations with like-minded neighbors.
  • Immerse yourself in nature, take a stroll or simply enjoy the fresh air and sunshine at nearby Woodland Hills parks.

At The Variel, we celebrate aging and spirituality and recognize the importance of religion. Whether they’re commemorating Good Friday and Easter or observing Passover later in the month, residents frequently unite to support and celebrate each other’s faith and spiritual rituals.

Here, we welcome all faiths and traditions and encourage residents who wish to adopt and engage in spiritual practices to enhance their lives. Contact us for a visit to experience The Variel’s inspired and engaged lifestyle.

Featured Image: Yuri A / Shutterstock