Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together


Are Churches Neglecting the Elderly?

posted by Linda Mintle

Before my 84-year-old mom died last year, she received a letter from the church she had been a member of for more than 60 years. The letter informed her that she no longer had voting privileges because of her lack of attendance on Sunday morning.

Her absence was due to being wheelchair bound. My then 89-year-old father was her full-time caretaker. Even though she was critically ill, not one of the five pastors in her church called or visited during the two years of her illness.

Mom and Dad faithfully served their church for decades. Every singing group, evangelist, speaker, and guest was housed by my parents’ place. No matter who died, got married, or had a baby, my mom sent meals and food to help with every occasion the church hosted. She was also the church pianist for years. My dad served as an usher, never missing a Sunday. He and his relatives built the camp grounds and fixed whatever was broken when called upon. For years, my mom baked the pastor’s favorite fruit pies and sent them to his house, per his request. Now, in their twilight years, we never heard from the church. And I don’t believe we were alone.

About four months ago, my dad took the senior pastor to breakfast and told him how much it bothered him that none of the church pastors visited my mom. This was a bold move as my dad doesn’t usually confront on such matters. The pastor said he would do better. He has yet to call on my dad in the 9 months since my mom died.

Many churches have become so focused on numbers and youth, that meeting the needs of their senior members are not even on the radar. My parents’ church has 450 members and five pastors, and not one pastor does pastoral care. There is an older gentleman who gets paid $100 a month to hold a senior service. Other than that, the elderly seem to be forgotten. And during this time in their lives, when a call or visit would mean so much, the pastors are not taking the time to minister to them.

Fortunately for my parents, they have strong friendships and dedicated family members who step in, visit, and bring meals.

Here is my question. Is it asking too much for a church leader to call once in awhile and check on these saints and offer to pray with them? Is it too much to expect someone to organize a meal or bring a card of encouragement? My mom would have loved having communion when at the nursing home. What about the elderly who do not have the family support like my parents do?

What has happened to pastoral care?

The church was the center of my parents’ lives for 60 years. It saddens me that they are neglected by the very body they so faithfully served. I know God is their reward, but the church needs to do a better job of caring for the elderly.

 

 



  • http://www.missybuchanan.com Missy Buchanan

    Heartbreakingly true. It’s the reason I started writing for older adults… Upper Room Books… books of encouragement. (Living with Purpose in a Worn-Out Body, Talking with God in Old Age, etc.)

  • Pingback: Pastoral Care to the Elderly is Still Needed - Doing Life Together

  • http://Samehere! Brenda

    My in-laws served their church for 40 years. My father in law was a deacon and mother in law baked, cleaned and was the hostess for many events. After, He got sick…..NO ONE visited, brought food or called. They never
    missed giving their ten percent and more and continued to tithe. What is happening to Christians who should know better ?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Cheta Hall

    I do agree. The pastors and members should both do better!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Charlene Shropshire

    This is so true,I am cosidered elderly but even before that the pastors did very little if any visits.An it is a shame.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment shriley allen

    this is so sad!!! god bless ya!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Angie Breeden

    I volunteer for Hospice & play guitar for them and people in the alzheimer’s facilities. I have seen it so much it hurts. Some of the people are just put there, with no visits from Their church families or even their own families. What’s sad is these people are & were the foundation of many-many churches. They are the reason some churches are still standing. I’ve learned so much in my journey in life at the end of theirs. When I play ‘ol Gospel music and see them glow with God it fills my Faith even more. We’re ALL GOD’s Children. Take time to appreciate & LOVE-LOVE-LOVE IN JESUS’s name.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Marlene Sandra Kelly

    This is so true, I have witnessed the same situation many times, where eldely people who have served their chruch and pastor for many years, being neglected and not cared for…..which is a shame…..I pray to GOD that I would become a better christian and show my love not only to the elderly, but all those kids, who needs hope and help

Previous Posts

Fatal Attraction: What You Found Attractive May Now Bother You
When John dated Katie, he was attracted to how book smart she was and how much she loved to learn new things. He is the first to tell you, he's not cut out for academics and loves to play instead of learn. As someone who needed to play more, Katie was attracted to John's outgoing and fun personality

posted 6:00:02am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Would You Rather Be Shocked Than Bored?
I can remember so many times when my kids would say to me, "I'm bored!" And they didn't like my response, "That's a good thing. Maybe you can listen to your thoughts or think creatively." Truth is, most of us don't like to be bored. At least not in this wired age. Our typical boredom trainers are

posted 6:00:54am Sep. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Kardashian Catwalk Controversy: A Little Sibling Rivalry?
Think drama! NO, think mindless drama. Now who comes to mind? The Kardashians of course. If there is a way to keep their names in the news, they find it. And so it goes with the latest "controversy." Apparently, 18- year- old Kendall Jenner banned sister Kim Kardashian from attending her fashi

posted 7:55:46am Sep. 26, 2014 | read full post »

Lifestyle Changes Now May Prevent Alzheimer's Later
I remember when my grandmother began to have memory loss in her early 80s. It was hard to watch because she knew she was losing it. Eventually, Alzheimer's took its hold on her mind and she ended up in a nursing home not knowing who we were. If you, like me, have a family member who suffers with

posted 6:00:32am Sep. 24, 2014 | read full post »

What is Bipolar Depression?
When academy award winning actress, Catherine Zeta-Jones announced that she suffered from Bipolar II Disorder and checked into a mental health facility for a brief stay in 2011, it made celebrity news. People wondered. What is Bipolar Disorder and how does that differ from depression? The Nat

posted 6:00:15am Sep. 22, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.