Assisted living facilities are not letting residents leave to go to churches because they need to prevent coronavirus from entering the facility. This policy is part of a broader recommendation that residents should only leave the community for medical treatment.

Processing this temporary prohibition against attending church services can be very difficult for seniors. However, prevention guidelines stress staying 6 ft. apart, a distance that is nearly impossible in the context of large social and religious gatherings. Some communities are providing their residents with communion deliveries and are helping them use tablets or laptops to access religious content. 

The following tips may help seniors in assisted living communities to cope with missing their church:

  • Perspective: It may help seniors to remember that many others within their faith community are also unable to attend services. Knowing that they are united in common experience, in beliefs, and in concern for one another will be important. Phone and video calls to church members can help.
  • Live-Streaming: Most congregations are now streaming their church services in real-time in lieu of having members meet at the building. Do your best to walk your loved one through accessing her congregation’s live-stream via YouTube or other platforms. If their congregation isn’t live-streaming, consider finding a similar church that is. 
  • Digital Resources: Your loved one may enjoy accessing gospel music, religious ebooks, or famous sermons online. Many such materials are free, and access to these items provides a valuable sense of connection to the community that your loved one is missing.

COVID-19 Update: With social distancing and stay-at-home orders, many seniors are struggling with loneliness and isolation. We’ve developed a list of products that caregivers or seniors can purchase to help older adults stay happy, healthy and connected, whether they are aging in place at home or in an assisted living community.

Additional Coronavirus FAQs