“We never age out of the need for spiritual encouragement and fellowship,” Ron Stansell, Friendsview Resident Council Chair, shared when asked, Why choose faith- based senior living? Older adults who participate in spiritual or religious activities may have fewer strokes, lower rates of hypertension, and less reported pain from illness. The possible physical health benefits alone are enough to consider faith-based senior living. But there are also emotional rewards.
Stansell elaborated on these rewards. When living in a faith-based community setting, he says, “Depression and pain are met by encouragement and healing. Loneliness is met by fellowship. Doubts shared are met by faith shared. Bible study, worship and prayer groups face both inward into the community and outward into the broader world.” Seniors who seek out a connection with something greater than themselves can be less likely to experience depression and suicidal thoughts. Stress levels may drop and family life can be enjoyed on a deeper level.
If anything, with age, the need for spiritual wellness grows. One Friendsview resident shared, “Before my husband died, I never needed the level of spiritual care and support that I’ve received at Friendsview. But when I needed it, it was there in overwhelming amounts.” Much of this care came from a resident-led interest group the likes of which you can only find in faith-based senior living communities. At Friendsview it’s called the Spiritual Care Team (SCT).
The SCT is a resident group with over 25 members. Among their acts of kindness are overnight vigils for those on hospice at Friendsview. This provides a much-needed rest for family members. Along with other groups such as the Worship Committee, Vespers and the Interactive Prayer Meeting organizers, the SCT meets various spiritual needs to create a community of compassion and support. A community focused on mission and values, not profits and loss.
Almost 85% of the largest not-for-profit senior living communities have some type of faith-based affiliation and are mission driven rather than revenue based. With a nearly 60-year Quaker heritage, Friendsview remains one of those communities — a major draw for current and future residents. Stansell admitted that, “We chose Friendsview specifically because we were attracted to a Christ-affirming community where we could be blessed and serve freely. It has been a joy to see those desires fulfilled.”
About 50% of Friendsview residents consider themselves Quaker. Others are affiliated with a variety of faith backgrounds, while some don’t ascribe to any particular religion. With such a strong faith focus, people often wonder if those who aren’t Quaker feel welcomed within the community. Resident Bob Oleson put it best when he said, “The community is very welcoming. And no one is going to try and push a philosophy on you. People are just very gracious. Our basic values are the same.”