Engaging: Key to Easing Elders’ Isolation

Engaging: Key to Easing Elders’ IsolationMany faith communities have implemented services on various platforms to provide opportunities for older adult participation that can reduce isolation. Integrating care with the faith of older adults fulfills an important function of the church: to minister to those who are isolated such as widows and orphans (James 1:27). Using virtual communication modes is practical and proven to reduce isolation and loneliness for our elders.

First, identify older adults who are socially isolated. Here, nurses can take the initiative in their churches and communities to connect with older adults and assess whether they could use more social interactions.

  • Establish weekly virtual meetings and services.
  • Use telephone ministries to promote relationships.
  • Consider virtual sacrament services, confession, Bible study, worship, and prayer services offered from various denominations.
  • Offer virtual learning programs. A Canadian program that introduced technology to older adults to improve their social interaction included inviting individuals to play online card games around a virtual table; the game playing can generate social involvement among players, leading to other virtual interactions and social relationships.

Serve as an educator for community members as they learn how to participate virtually in faith communities and online activities with like-minded older adults. Connecting older adults to faith community nurses, health ministers, and church leadership can positively impact their perception of health—mental, physical, and spiritual.

As members of their own faith community, Christian nurses can utilize the Christian community's desire to love others by providing community outreach.

Don'L Blevins, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, provides direct patient care at Novant Health Surry Medical Associates Extended Care in North Carolina. He’s passionate about his faith while practicing as a family nurse practitioner.

Read the full article, A Faith-Based Intervention to Address Social Isolation and Loneliness in Older Adults, in the Journal of Christian Nursing.

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