NEW resources to help churches reach out to Britain’s ageing population and “release the potential” of society’s increasing number of elderly have been launched this week.
Five charities have joined together to create a website, Faith in Later Life, which provides resources to help churches connect with older people, and provide a theology of old age.
Alan Hare, from the Faith in Later Life partnership, said: “God’s view of old age, and society’s view of old age, are very different; where does the Church sit on that spectrum? We want churches to provide a positive view of old age.
“I know a 92-year-old who is full of life and vigour, who says, unless she keeps getting herself out of the house, it’s just her looking at four walls. We want to help churches to reach out to older people, and help older people themselves see that they are the solution, not a problem; that they can live a more fulfilled life.”
The initiative would provide resources aimed specifically at working with older people, to match the resources that are already widely available for those in youth work.
The resources include advice on services for people with dementia, conversations about death and dying, and how to begin conversations about faith with older people.
Government statistics suggest that one in three children born today will reach the age of 100. The number of people aged over 90 has trebled in the past 30 years.
The initiative is a partnership between the Pilgrims’ Friend Society, the Salvation Army, London City Mission, Mission Care, and the charity Keychange.
A supporter, Lord Mackay of Clashfern, who is 90, said: “The Bible describes older people as having a vital role to play in the Church and in society, and we are blessed that advances in medicine mean that there will be a significant increase in their numbers. Many are living increasingly lonely and isolated lives, and they need to hear the good news of the gospel.”