When it comes to getting older, there are things seniors can do to help themselves and others.
The Faith Lutheran Church in Shumway recently offered a Senior Living Seminar that provided information on topics, such as aging gracefully and getting your âhouse in orderâ for end-of-life decisions and health care directives.
The Rev. Roger Marshall with the First Baptist Church in Effingham, where he’s served for the past 30 years, said he’s dealt with hundreds of end-of-life circumstances â and all of them are just part of living.
âI don’t know how long we will live, but it doesn’t really cost that much to get your house in order,â said Marshall. âIt is depressing to do it at first, but once it is done, it becomes a blessing to your family.â
There are a lot of things that need to be talked about, and some of these things people are reluctant to address, he said. Getting your house in order means having all the needed documents and legal paperwork in one safe place, as a start.
âYou need a box,â Marshall said.
He suggested that box be as simple as a shoebox, or a drawer, or a fireproof safe, and someone should know where it is kept.
That box should hold the most important items and documents, in order to provide information to those left behind, such as wills, trusts, living will, durable power of attorney for health care, do not resuscitate orders, insurance information, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts and more. The box also should contain passwords to important things.
âWhen it comes to life insurance, there are millions of dollars in Illinois annually that goes unclaimed because the family didn’t know that the person had insurance policies,â said Marshall. âThis information should all be in a box.â
He also suggested making funeral plans in advance and telling loved ones what your desires are, such as name of the funeral home, music to be played, the preacher to do the service, whether you wish to be embalmed or cremated, and if you are an organ donor.
âIt will be a blessing to someone who will be taking care of your estate,â said Marshall. âIf my kids suddenly have to step in, they will know where things are and all of this has been talked about.â
But there is more to aging than just getting your affairs in order.
Sometimes older people don’t think they have anything to offer, or that they have done their time and now someone else can do it. Or they have the perception from younger people that they are not wanted around, said Pastor Jason Rensner, who has been preaching at Faith Lutheran for 23 years.
Norbert Soltwedel, 75, of Shumway, who helped organize the seminar, said the topic of aging and feeling like you have no purpose sometimes rears its ugly head.
âSometimes when you get older you get where you can’t do all the things you used to do,â said Norbert Soltwedel. âThen it feels that everyone assumes you can’t do anything. Then no longer are you asked to volunteer or be a part of things.â
But another person attending the senior seminar said there are things older people can still do.
âWe don’t always realize the seeds that we plant,â said Bev Soltwedel, 72, of Shumway. âIt might be years later that someone drops a note or call that something you did or said meant the world to that person, at that time.â
Rensner said there still are things seniors can do to feel useful and age gracefully.
When he researched the topic of aging with grace, he found a list of 10 ways, such as avoiding negativity, avoiding smoking, drinking only moderately, keeping a healthy weight, drinking plenty of water, remaining active, eating a balanced diet, staying social, laughing, and striving for goals and dreams.
âIf you have something you are working towards, you have something to look forward to or something to do during the day,â said Rensner. âThat was the No. 1 way to age successfully.â
But in the spiritual sense, Rensner said “aging with grace,” means aging with the grace of God.
âWe are all aging no matter how old we all are. From the minute we are born, we are aging,â said Rensner. âYes, it is good to do things on this list by keeping us healthy and well, but the biggest thing we need to do is age with the Grace of God in our lives.”
Dawn Schabbing can be reached at [email protected] or 217-347-7151, ext. 138
Church offers programs for seniors
The workshop was part of The Three Quarters Club and the Faith Lutheran Health and Wellness committee program.
The Faith Lutheran Health and Wellness Committee coordinates with CEFS/Golden Circle Nutrition and the Midland Area Agency on Aging to provide Strong for Life.
Strong for Life is an exercise program for anyone 60 and older interested in improving their strength, balance and overall health. The class meets twice a week on Wednesday and Friday at the church.
The church has a parish nurse ministry with Sharen Wolke and Deb Schultz, both retired registered nurses, who serve as volunteers. Schultz holds blood pressure clinics every second Sunday of the month and they also visit shut-ins. First aid and CPR classes are taught by former instructor Dave Budde.
The Three Quarters Club is a social and educational group especially designed for people ages 75 and older.
Romaine Braughton, 84, of Shumway, said she started the Three Quarters Club about two years ago so seniors can get together once a month and have a potluck, play some games and hold a Bible study.
âThere are no dues,â said Braughton. âIt’s pretty laid back. And we have our own T-shirts.â
New member Norbert Soltwedel said the group gives older people a sense of belonging.
âThey’ve been getting together for social and educational settings for about two years,â said Norbert Soltwedel. âIt’s something Pastor (Jason) Rensner instituted to give the senior citizens something to do and to be able to connect and enjoy each other’s company.â