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Does Religion Matter in Retirement?

February 14, 2018

Did you know “religiousness” in the United States increases with age and that 92 percent of Americans say they believe in God?  This information, compiled by Gallup Polls, is a reminder that religion matters, especially during retirement years. At The Saybrook at Haddam, residents regularly take part in activities and events that express and celebrate their faith and spirituality.  In our opinion, this is a very important way to create a “family” environment and allow residents to enjoy a meaningful life.

For these reasons, we host regular Bible study events and discussions, which have become popular among residents.  We appreciate local pastors who volunteer their time to come to The Saybrook at Haddam each week to lead these discussions, answer questions, play religious music, and provide other forms of fellowship.  We also welcome the local priests who visit each week to give Communion, and rabbis who join us for Jewish studies and celebrations. Additionally, we are happy residents make good use of our van which travels to nearby houses of worship for weekly services.

Our community celebrates religious-inspired holidays and traditions such as Easter, Passover, Mardi Gras and St. Valentine’s Day with decorations, holiday movies and entertainment, and even trips to themed events. Many activities are organized at the suggestion of residents who want to share a tradition or memory with the rest of the community. Of course, our kitchen staff embraces each holiday by creating menus that highlight the different foods, desserts, and drinks that are associated with those special times of year.

Some of our activities – such as Tai Chi, meditation, and even hand-drumming – may not be considered “religious,” but they do have their roots in religion.  While we may look at these simply as healthy ways to promote wellness in seniors, they were, at one point, more closely tied with prayer, community and spirituality. Additionally, our “Books with Joan” activity often will include selections that have spiritual or religious connections.

We were interested, although not surprised, to learn of recent research that illustrates how religion literally affects senior’s overall well-being.  One survey by The Journal of Gerontology found that people who prayed or meditated coped better with illness and lived longer than those who did not. A study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that those who prayed daily were 40 percent less likely to have high blood pressure. Finally, a Dartmouth Medical School study showed that patients with strong religious beliefs were three times more likely to recover from elective heart surgery.

We also appreciate that our community is open and welcoming to residents who may describe themselves as “non-religious.”  These residents, like everyone at The Saybrook at Haddam, enjoy tremendous benefits from our diverse range of social, educational and cultural events and outings that keep their minds and bodies active.  Their friendship and involvement are important parts of what makes our community thrive.

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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