The CDC states that there are nearly 16,000 nursing homes in the United States with about 1.4 million people receiving long-term care services in those facilities. Over 30,000 assisted living facilities are in operation. Plus, many adult daycare and hospice facilities exist providing services. While most long-term care is provided at home from home care providers and agencies, the total number of people expected to require care in a facility is expected to rise as baby boomers continue to age.
While physical and mental care is important in these cases, spiritual care must not be forgotten. There are several faith-based facilities representing Roman Catholic, major Protestant denominations, Jewish, and other faith communities which exist to serve the needs of those who belong to those faith communities. Non-faith-based Long-Term Care facilities often provide a basic non-denominational church service catering to the majority religion within the facility. Transportation to area churches for those who are able, are sometimes available. Priests, ministers, rabbis, and other religious leaders may visit residents who share their faith.
However, it is in fact, not the responsibility of long-term care facilities to ensure residents have their spiritual needs met. This is where the family must intervene, and make sure that spiritual beliefs are upheld throughout the time spent within a facility.
Keep basic practices going
Basic practices, such as prayer or devotion, can still be practiced in a facility. Communication with the deity or deities of the religion is easy enough to do in the privacy of the person’s bedroom. Reading from a holy book or other religious scripture is also achievable. Gather as a family on a regular basis to continue basic religious practices to encourage spiritual well-being is also possible. Talk to the caretakers on duty to plan the best time for these meetings. Attempting a religious reading or prayer session must be done during downtime. The long-term care facility manager can help determine the best time for private spiritual practices.
Talk to the community
If the person in long-term care is the member of a religious gathering place, find out if the leader of the organization will visit the person regularly. For example, ask the priest to pay a visit to Grandma once per week for prayer services. Some organizations have specific groups for this purpose, so one can add the loved one to the list of people who receive visits. Keeping the person, in long-term care, in the religious community helps maintain the spiritual well-being he or she built over a lifetime.
Simply talking to the person in long-term care can do wonders for spiritual well-being. Talking about past and present religious beliefs help the person in care gain perspective on the experience. Talking about everything, from where people go after passing away to personalized spiritual paths, will enrich spirituality and forge a personal connection with the loved one.
It is not always the responsibility, or the priority, of long-term care facilities to ensure the spiritual well-being of every patient. This is why it is essential for families to help loved ones continue existing spiritual practices. Spiritual health is important at every stage of life and has the possibility of being upheld in long-term care facilities.
About the Author
Sally Phillips is a freelance writer with many years’ experience across many different areas. She enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family, and traveling as much as possible.
Contributor since November 4th, 2017
Most people take for granted the religious and spiritual options we have every day. Be it attending Sunday Mass or a Wednesday night Bible study, or just the power of prayer, the ability to seek spiritual peace-of-mind is second nature. However, the virus crisis has limited our options. For those who are isolated or in a long-term care facility, that connection is now harder.
Virus Crisis - COVID-19 and Spirituality
The virus crisis has created many challenges for everyone to practice their spirituality and religious believes. Being connected is even more important for a person in a long-term care facility.
While many facilities offer a variety of options during "normal" times, the COVID-19 pandemic makes that more difficult. However, a variety of radio, TV, and online options are available.
Local radio and TV are broadcasting a variety of services, be it Roman Catholic and other Christian denominations, Jewish, and Muslim services. You can also find talks shows that discuss religious and spiritual issues.
Online you will find everything from Mass at the Vatican to a small local Baptist Church. A quick online search will bring up many options.
You might want to assist a family member who is in a facility or isolated at home to find the options that will bring them peace-of-mind. The power of prayer has been shown to be a powerful health benefit.
Have You Prepared Your Family and Finances for Future Long-Term Care?
As we age, the need for help with everyday living activities increases. The number of people inflicted with Alzheimer’s or Dementia has also increased. Most long-term care is delivered in a person’s home. Family caregiving is hard and creates a tremendous burden and even friction between adult children. Paid care drains savings and impacts the lifestyle of the other spouse.
Longevity is why affordable Long-Term Care Insurance should be a crucial part of your retirement planning. The financial costs and burdens of aging impact you, your family, your savings, and your lifestyle. Whether you want quality care at home or in a facility like assisted living, Long-Term Care Insurance will provide the tax-free resources to make sure your needs are taken care of without creating a burden on loved ones.
When you have a Long-Term Care policy, you get to select the providers and the types of care you desire. These decisions are always left to you or your family. The guaranteed tax-free benefits offer you control and independence, so your family has time to be family.
If you wish to be in a faith-based assisted living facility, for example, that is a choice you can make and safeguard your assets at the same time. Without an advance plan, the decisions on how your future care will be delivered often are out of your hands. Your savings will be used to pay for care, and your family will be forced to manage your care.
Act before you retire and always seek the help of an experienced Long-Term Care Specialist who represents all the major companies. They will design an affordable plan and shop to find the best coverage at the best value.
Premiums and underwriting criteria vary dramatically between insurance companies. A specialist will match you with the best coverage at a lower cost.
An LTC Insurance Specialist Will Help
Get accurate quotes and professional recommendations by finding a trusted and qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. Just click here and get connected with a top professional.
Find the cost of care in your area, and the availability of tax incentives and partnership plans depend on the state in which you live. The LTC NEWS cost of care calculator is an outstanding tool - just click here.
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Advance planning reduces the stress otherwise placed on your family. Sure, money is important; however, so is the choice of quality care and the ability to reduce the stress and burden your family will face when you will need long-term care services. Act before you retire, ideally in your 40s or 50s, when you still enjoy good health.