How can we structure communities and organizations to utilize the human capacity of the younger elders and the recently retired? This demographic is relatively healthy, mobile, and has time to spare.
How can we instill meaning and purpose and enable seniors to reach their full potential and contribute to society?
Religions teach us the purpose of life and how to conduct our daily lives. What roles could religions play in bringing people together to serve others selflessly?
Some inspirations below:
People Who Volunteer Live Longer, Study Suggests (Live Science)
- Researchers at the University of Michigan found that people who volunteer for selfless, altruistic reasons, such as helping others, live longer than those who don't lend a helping hand.
Find Purpose, Live Longer (AARP)
- Those who felt their lives had meaning had significantly lower rates of cancer and heart disease than did those who didn't feel this way.
- Having a sense of purpose—or “having a reason to get out of bed”—was a common trait in many of the world's centenarians.
- Those who retired early had a 51 percent higher mortality rate than those who kept working
- Those who retired at 55 were twice as likely to die during the next ten years as people the same age who continued to work.
- White people who regularly attended church lived an average 7 years longer than their nonchurchgoing counterparts, and black people lived a remarkable 14 years longer.
- Older people who give back have better physical and mental health and a lower mortality risk. Volunteers ages 60 through 86 outscored their nonparticipating counterparts in both physical and cognitive ability. The key is to volunteer in ways that seem meaningful to you.
The Benefits of Church (The New York Times)
- Religious attendance boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. It may add as much as two to three years to your life.
- Frequent churchgoers had larger social networks, with more contact with, more affection for, and more kinds of social support from those people than their unchurched counterparts. Social support is directly tied to better health.
- On average, regular church attendees drink less, smoke less, use fewer recreational drugs and are less sexually promiscuous than others.
- The capacity to imagine a loving God vividly leads to better health.
*image from: http://www.rodale.com/self-neglect-older-adults