For over a year, so many have valiantly changed their regular routines and their normal behaviors in order to protect their loved ones and neighbors. By following standards of social distancing and quarantine guidelines, many people have done so much out of their desire to slow the spread of Covid-19. It’s interesting to think that we may never know the good we have accomplished by changing our lifestyles and distancing ourselves from others.
The past year has also been a time of great difficulty. Not only have many people struggled with this terrible virus but we are all aware of the other negative effects that have taken place. Understandably, people have experienced heightened feelings of loneliness and isolation. Some of our normal stresses have felt compounded and unmanageable. We have often felt removed from the things that usually give us strength – like family gatherings, church services, and nights out on the town.
One of the ways we at Christian Care Communities have been fighting these negative effects is by focusing on our faith. While our seniors come from many different religious backgrounds, the strength we find from our faith is universal. Focusing on faith during these times has been more than just an empty platitude. Our faith has often been the anchor that reminds us that no matter what storm comes our way, we will not be broken or completely overcome.
One important way that Christian Care Communities emphasizes our dependence on faith is by having chaplains at our senior living communities. The chaplains strive to provide pastoral care and emotional support to any and all seniors in the community. This often consists of one-on-one visits where the chaplains delve into many different areas of conversation. As chaplains use their gentle questioning and active listening skills, seniors may share about any number of deeper matters. They may share their secret stresses or they may share their highest joys. As people share their stories, chaplains are there to provide an attentive ear and an encouraging word. The chaplain may also provide a devotional thought, an uplifting scripture, and a personal prayer.
Chaplains know that a person’s faith is made up of many different things: certain beliefs, spiritual practices, belonging to a particular community, and often a lifelong history of spiritual ups and downs. While a person’s faith may change or transforms over time, it still provides strength and stability. Learning of a person’s faith journey is part of what chaplains do.
During difficult times, many have felt like the fire of their faith has dwindled or even been extinguished. For those going through such an experience, chaplains look for those small burning embers that may need to be stoked. Living through this time of pandemic, many of us have needed to have our faith stoked.
One such example is a wonderful woman named Ms. Libby who lives at Louisville East. Libby grew up in the Baptist church and was always active in different church ministries like the Woman’s Missionary Union. At her church, Libby was known for playing the piano and leading congregational singing. For her entire life, Libby’s innate charisma helped to energize and inspire those around her.
Sadly, Libby’s husband died a few years ago. As she dealt with his passing, she also had to deal with her own health issues and the hassles of keeping her home maintained. While her faith strengthened her, the stresses of life simply did not go away.
When the pandemic hit, the strains of home management became too much. Eventually, her son convinced her to enter into a simpler life. After visiting the available apartment at Louisville East, Libby knew that would be the perfect place for her. She enjoyed the independence she maintained while being able to avoid some of the other stresses in life.
At her new home, Libby handled social distancing better than most. She maintained a good relationship with her children by phone. She even met some of her new neighbors as they chatted with each other from their separate doors. One of the first people she ran into was an old co-worker from years past. This life was a good fit for her.
As the months passed, Libby felt like she lost part of her spark. She was unable to attend church in person and still felt isolated despite her points of connection. As a lifelong helper and organizer, she seemed to lose some of her purpose in life.
When the Christian Care chaplain started working at Louisville East, Libby was one of the first people to reach out to him. She appreciated being able to share part of her life story with him and felt encouraged by his pastoral care and prayers. After people at the community had been vaccinated and small groups like Bible Study started up again, Libby was right there to help volunteer. The chaplain saw her strong faith and her desire to help, so he immediately plugged her into the groups. Not only is Libby singing and playing piano again, she continues to be an important encourager as she draws people into deeper community with one another.
At times, it feels like our faith may be dimming. We are grateful for all the people who fan the fires of our faith. We are grateful for our pastors and mentors who encourage us to grow. We are grateful for our families and friends who make us know we are loved. We are grateful for our chaplains who help us get through crises and help empower us as life begins to blossom again.
For more information on Christian Care Communities’ mission to promote Faith-Care-Family in our senior living communities, simply dial 502.254.4200.
Christian Care Communities, Louisville East
11530 Herrick Lane, Louisville, KY 40243
Senior Living Options: Independent Living Garden Homes and Apartments, Assisted Living
Christian Care Communities of Louisville
Christian Health Center
920 South 4th Street, Louisville, KY 40203
Senior Living Options: Skilled Nursing, Memory Care, Transitional Rehab to Home
Friendship House and Chapel House
960 South 4th Street, Louisville, KY 40203
Senior Living Options: Independent Living Apartments