<!–[CDATA[Seniors are more likely to value religion, according to Growing Old in America a study conducted by Pew Research Center. But most of us don’t need formal research to tell us that many older Americans seem to be more in tune with their spiritual side. We’ve all probably witnessed it firsthand.
Have you ever stopped and wondered why?
5 Possible Reasons Growing Older Makes us More Spiritual
Let’s take a look at why religion and spirituality might become more important as we grow older.
1. Mortality Awareness
One of the most obvious reasons is that as we age, we become more aware of our own mortality. As we gain experience and wisdom, we start realizing that our lives won’t last forever.
The older you get, the more likely it is that some of those close to you have passed away. This isn’t to say that young people haven’t experienced losses. However, the longer we live, the more often we’re exposed to the realities of life, and this awareness tends to increase with age.
Older adults may feel that becoming involved with religion or spirituality will offer them support or companionship. Speaking with a religious leader, such as a pastor, can provide comfort to those who are sick or lonely. It may also provide hope for those who suffering from a chronic illness, are grieving a loss or trying to overcome depression.
3. A Shift in Priorities
Another possibility is that spirituality isn’t necessarily a priority for young people. Adults in their 20s and 30s are primarily focused on themselves, opting for entertainment or attaining their professional goals rather than on spiritual needs.
They might also be focused on choosing an educational path that will lead to a good career. Many younger adults feel pressured to find a spouse, secure a home, and create a family. Spirituality can easily get pushed to the bottom of the list of priorities or disappear altogether.
As we age, we don’t have the same pressures or worries to attend to. Older adults are in a different emotional stage in life than younger adults. Seniors in their 60s or older may have enjoyed the material lifestyle when they were younger, but now seek more meaningful days.
4. Desire to Discover More
There’s an old adage: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” However, this shift toward spirituality as we age tends to disprove that saying.
It could be that the interest in spirituality comes because of life experience. People who have seemingly seen and done it all may be on a quest to find out what else there is.
In addition, a person’s upbringing or family obligations may have prevented them from exploring other spiritual options earlier in life. As adults age, they realize that there’s more to be learned beyond what they were raised to believe, and are interested in discovering more.
Spiritual practices provide a time for the practitioner to reflect on their life. Older adults who are turning toward spirituality have more years to reflect back on. Some spiritual practices offer feelings of redemption, which users may believe is their only way to right past errors.
Spirituality is an Important Dimension of Wellness
At Five Star Senior Living, we recognize the value of developing the spiritual side of life. Our wellness programs cover every dimension of wellness, including the physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual.
If you’d like to learn more about wellness at our communities, please call or stop by for a tour of a community near you.