“My mother’s lament, that we live too long and die too slowly, has become more common, with impact on two generations as medical science has made it possible to keep very sick and very old people alive longer.  The typical eighty-five year old, geriatric researchers say, can expect more than two years at the end of his life when he is totally dependent on others for most basic daily activities: getting out of bed, getting dressed, going to the bathroom, eating.  And the eighty-five-and over group, by far the fastest growing in America, is expected to more than double by 2035, according to the census projections, to 11.5 million, from 5 million as I write.  By then the youngest of the baby boomers, 77 million strong, will be celebrating their seventieth birthdays.  This is a demographic Category 5 hurricane bearing down on weak levees.”  (Gross, Jane, (2011), A Bittersweet Season: Caring for our aging parents and ourselves, New York: Vintage, pp. 11-12)

My fear, and, I think, my fairly sure bet, is that congregations are not prepared to minister to the demographic changes that are coming.  We are not preparing and forming ministers with a capability to serve the new aging population, and, we are not particularly prepared to function outside of what we do now..  How do we prepare to serve this aging population?

I would love to know:

  • How is your congregation serving or preparing to serve this aging population?
  • What types of trained personnel are in place for you to utilize?
  • What positions are being better trained to serve an aging demographic?.
  • We have youth ministers…..what about senior ministers?  Does your parish staff include the personnel to serve the predicted aging population?           

PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG and send me what your congregation is doing to effectively serve this aging population.  I would like to compile a list of those of us who are trained and serving and I would like to compile resources available.

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