During this time of year we are reminded of the elderly who are cared for in the Diocese of Providence. Oftentimes, they seem to be a forgotten part of the Church because they are not as visible as they once were when they were younger. The Church does not forget about them, and there are many nursing homes and hospitals staffed by chaplains that service their spiritual and sacramental needs. As the baby boomer generation starts entering into the retirement years, there will be an increased demand for care of the elderly, and thus more resources will be required to meet their needs. This increase in the elderly population will affect both the civil and religious communities.
In previous generations, the elderly were held in honor and esteem because of their knowledge and wisdom which they have garnered through life experiences. They have many things to teach us about life, faith and how to deal with pain and hardships. In the nursing homes, there are many lonely elderly people who think that they have nothing to offer, but that is not the case. Just because they are not as productive as they used to be in society, it does not mean that they have any less dignity than anyone else.
As a matter of fact they are in the perfect situation to offer their sufferings and prayers for poor souls and those who are away from the Church. Still, it is important that we visit family and friends residing in nursing homes, because many of them look forward to the visits. Our parents and family took care of us when we could not take care of ourselves. We must do the same for them also when they can no longer care for themselves. By doing so, we truly honor our fathers and mothers.