Growing up, I was taught all there is to know about Christianity, but my family didn't put a lot of emphasis in trying to get to know the religions of other people from around the world. As a result, I had a lot of questions once I became an adult and started to do some traveling. I found myself visiting different churches and places of worship to get answers, and most of what I learned was simply fascinating. Today, I enjoy helping others understand the differences and similarities between various religions because I feel that it brings us closer together as humans. So I started this blog to provide insight and information about some of the most notorious religions of all time. I hope you enjoy what you find here!
It's important to consider religious and spiritual needs when you search for an assisted living facility for your senior loved one. Although your primary concern may be to ensure your loved one is cared for physically, they will most likely feel more comfortable if their personal religious preferences are also taken into account. Here are some ways that an assisted living facility can accommodate seniors' religious and spiritual needs.
Specific Medical Considerations
In some religious belief systems, medical care intersects with spiritual care. In one certain religion, for instance, blood transfusions are disallowed. In an instance where a senior has a medical incident or condition, and a life-saving blood transfusion may be ordered by a physician, these believers would refuse the procedure in order to stay true to their beliefs.
If your senior loved one is religious follower whose tenets disallow specific medical procedures, it would be better to find a facility with staff that would support that right of refusal. Although your loved one may or may not have a legal right to refuse medical treatment based on religious grounds, it's easiest if everyone is on the same page with this regard.
Support of Religious Symbolism
Religions around the world each have symbols that are either venerated or rejected. To believers, these symbols are powerful manifestations of their faith. While some religions are more tolerant of different religions' symbols, other religions consider certain symbols heavily offensive or even blasphemous.
Your senior loved one may be a member of a religion that has strong beliefs in certain symbols, or that does not tolerate what it might deem as anti-religious symbolism. For example, some believers might take deep offense if the assisted living facility decorates the common areas once a year with a tree, festoons and images of a man in a red suit and eight reindeer. Be sure to inquire about the facility's practices regarding religious symbolism to ensure it does not make your senior loved one feel excluded.
Access to Spiritual Leaders
Each religion generally has one or more spiritual leaders whom the congregation can turn to from time to time. These may include members of the clergy, elders, ministers, priests or nuns.
It's important that your senior loved one's spiritual leader has free and welcome access within the assisted living facility. If their garb draws negative attention from the staff, or if prejudice occurs, your senior loved one will feel the ramifications, and may feel ostracized or unaccepted for who they are and what they believe.
Before committing to any one facility, have a frank conversation about how the assisted living facility supports religious diversity. Knowing that your senior loved one's spiritual needs will be respected and supported will make everyone feel at ease. Contact a senior center, such as United Methodist Village, for more information about accommodations for your religious beliefs.