Spirituality at retirement communities | a Sun Health Senior Living article

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Different stages of life bring different needs as we flow through our lives, and things we couldn’t find time for while managing careers and family can become more important once retirement arrives.

Spirituality is often one of those things.

Whether it’s organized religion or belief in a higher power that brings comfort, it fills an important role for many older adults that goes deeper than attending worship services, according to Sun Health’s Corporate Director of Spiritual Life, Reverend David Klumpenhower. He’s one of three faith leaders for the company’s retirement communities, which includes two Christian and one Jewish chaplains.

It’s an opportunity to socialize, learn and grow, as well as gain comfort through some of life’s more difficult moments.

For retirement communities like Grandview Terrace, La Loma Village and The Colonnade, religion and spirituality are woven deeply throughout the fabric of the community, connecting residents with a sense of belonging. The common ground and relationships it brings heals broken hearts, soothes the mind, brings warmth and caring relationships, and even has an impact on health.

It’s also a key dimension of the Masterpiece Living® concept of optimal aging that Sun Health communities are based on.

For Sun Health in particular, events like Shabbat meals on a Friday evening, a monthly “world religions” lecture series, volunteer opportunities and field trips to explore things like a Jewish deli, local mosque or Greek Orthodox monastery in Florence, AZ are commonplace. Religious holidays also bring their share of group devotions and events across the three communities.

More typical activities are ongoing, too, such as bible study and worship services for a number of different faiths, and non-faith activities like ping pong to help residents get acquainted with the in-house ministry, so they’re comfortable bringing more serious struggles to the table when they need support or encouragement.

”We offer risk-free, non-threatening opportunities to become part of something,” says Klumpenhower. “There’s a strong need and desire for this at retirement communities.”

It’s not all about the social and worship aspects, of course. “Our job is to go where it’s most uncomfortable to go, sitting in grief with a person, fully present to support them and help them heal in recovery.”

Aging can bring more than its fair share of grief along with it, such as the losses of a beloved spouse, friends and family members… even the loss of a home, a dog that’s become part of the family, the ability to drive, precious memories, or even the loss of self that comes with a dementia diagnosis. Religious leadership within a retirement community helps residents deal with the tragedies that accompany living a rich, long life.

Sun Health Senior Living is pleased to offer an upcoming grief recovery series intended to provide a safe environment and specific tools to recover from loss and lead a happier life.

Open to the public, the group will meet every Tuesday for eight weeks, from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM beginning January 11 at the Grandview Health and Rehab Center, located at 14505 W. Granite Valley Drive, Sun City West, AZ. 85375.

Registration required. Learn more at sunhealthcommunityeducation.org.

“Once retired and no longer immersed in a busy career, we find ourselves facing things we’ve pushed away from our consciousness most of our life. Whether it’s an identity crisis, a troubling issue or heartbroken grief, it’s our privilege to light the way however we can. Prayers, counsel or sitting by their side… they aren’t going through it alone.”

This is part one of a series on Masterpiece Living – jump to Part Two here.

Interested in learning more about the spiritual aspect of Sun Health Senior Living communities? Visit http://sunhealthseniorliving.org/ or contact Corporate Director of Sales Jackie Lusson at 623-236-3767 to schedule a tour.

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