Faith Formation

How Can Episcopal Faith Communities Help Address Issues Faced by Older Adults?

November 6, 2014
Lifelong Formation

Warren Frelund returns as guest blogger today. Warren has been a deacon in The Episcopal Church for 20 years. He is currently semi-retired but remains active in ministry development. He and his wife, Sue, live in Mason City, Iowa, enjoying the company of their grandchildren.

Helping Communities Deal with the Challenges of Aging

I have been invited by the Bishop of Iowa, the Rt. Rev. Alan Scarfe, to attend a meeting with him in Des Moines to discuss the issues surrounding our aging population. The meeting was scheduled for April 15 but has been postponed until May.

The purpose of the informal meeting was to discuss the establishment of a Church and Community Advisory Board. The mission of this Board would be to bring church and community leaders together to address the ways we can help communities deal with the challenges of aging. I am hopeful that this group will meet in May and begin work around these issues immediately.

While I await this meeting, I would like to share some of the points of interest the community of Iowa Falls developed during a meeting of church and civic leaders convened at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. I am sure these issues are not unique to Iowa Falls.

We need to:

  • help people write medical Powers of Attorney and Living Wills,
  • provide respite opportunities for at home care-givers,
  • reactivate our Senior Citizens’ Centers,
  • address concerns about housing for older adults who need assistance but cannot afford present Assisted Living options, and
  • explore the use of old hospitals for various services for older adults.

These are just a few of the concerns the group identified and by no means meant to be a complete list.  Engaging civic and church leaders is critical for success.

What issues are your older adults facing in your community and how are you addressing them?

Share your thoughts, concerns, or questions in the comments. We would love to hear from you and how you are engaging in older adult ministries in your congregation and diocese.

David Stickley

Formation Associate