“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.” Psalm 92: 12-14 (NIV)
Welcome to another Faith in Later Life newsletter, and thank you for your continued interest and support, it is hugely appreciated. In our newsletters we aim to provide a blend of relevant national news and updates around what we are doing, and hopefully in doing so encouraging you and your church in your vital ministries with those in later life. As ever, if there is any content you would like to see in our newsletters that is currently missing, then do get in touch.
Thought of the Day
This week I have the privilege of sharing the ‘Thought of the Day’ every morning at around 7:20am on Premier Christian Radio. Each day I share a different scripture and share a thought in relation to what scripture says about ageing and later life. Please pray that the thousands who listen, particularly those who are older, would be encouraged and affirmed in their identity in Christ. You can listen to the first ‘Thought of the Day’ by clicking the link on our website https://faithinlaterlife.org/news-whats-new-premier-christian-radio-thought-of-the-day/
NHS 10 year plan
The Government’s 10 Year Plan was published last month and reinforces three themes that have received detailed focus from Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State. They are the Workforce, Prevention and Early Diagnosis to focus on the ageing population and the widespread adoption of Technology. You can read the plan here: https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/nhs-long-term-plan.pdf. For the first time, funding for primary, community and mental health services will grow faster than those for hospital services. But there is still no sign of the promised Green Paper for social care. At the launch of the 10 Year Plan, Theresa May identified ‘reducing waste’ meant to get patients out of hospital. It’s been estimated that 1,000 older people a week are detained in hospitals unnecessarily because there is no-one to care for them at home, but this ‘waste’ can only be prevented by giving the long term future of social care the same level of focus and priority as has been awarded health. The increasing number of frail patients arriving at hospital has been identified as one of the key reasons why the NHS struggles with overcrowded wards, yet if they have support and care at home, older people often can be kept out of hospital.
Without good social care in the community the NHS’s plan for step change from acute to community will face significant challenges. There is no simple answer to this, but we know that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day [Age UK research, 2018], and can also lead to accelerating symptoms of dementia; so churches running activities for older people in their communities, as well as supporting the older members of their congregations, can make a difference. To add your churches activity to our national directory, visit our websitehttps://faithinlaterlife.org/inspire/directory/
Better than medicine?
A recent news article reports that GPs are to be given 1,000 staff to help tackle loneliness and mental illness, as part of the social prescribing project. These workers will help direct patients to services such as community support groups in the hope that by 2023-24 they will handle 900,000 patient appointments every year. Does your church run an activity which invites older people in the community to join in? If so perhaps you could think about making it known to your local GP Practice? Many older people have a level of faith, and even if they don’t, they often engage in church activities that are appropriate to them because they trust churches.
To upload your church activity onto our national directory, or to see what activities are available near you, do visit our website by clicking on the link.https://faithinlaterlife.org/inspire/directory/
This month I had the pleasure of addressing a Seniors group of about 50 church members from the local area, at Cranleigh Baptist church. It was an enjoyable afternoon of sharing about the work of Faith in Later Life, and encouraging those in attendance. And the food was delicious! If you would like a visit, either for your Sunday service, or a midweek Seniors group, do get in touch via our website https://faithinlaterlife.org/get-involved/request-a-speaker/
Yours in Christ,
Director, Faith in Later Life