Janice Lloyd writes for USA Today.
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Aging Expert Vern Bengtson: Boomers Will Return to Church
Baby boomers might not be that different from the Greatest Generation when it comes to religion. Like their parents, many boomers will attend religious services later in life. But unlike their parents, baby boomers are more likely to describe a deep, intense spiritual connection from a personal experience than a religious one from an institutional practice.
Many of them don’t know it yet, said a researcher at this week’s annual conference of the Gerontological Society of America in New Orleans, but growing old, regardless of what generation you belong to, brings on dramatic changes that can propel people to seek new meaning in religious services.
Vern Bengtson is the author of the recently published Families and Faith with co-authors Susan Harris and Norella Putney. He based his findings and predictions on a 35-year longitudinal study of 350 Southern California families and interviews with a subset of 156 families. The study’s scope spanned six generations from 1909 to 1988. The conversations explored spirituality, religious beliefs, intensities, and practices.
‘Death Cafes’ Normalize a Difficult, Not Morbid, Topic
No one wants to talk about death at the dinner table, at a soccer game, or at a party, says Lizzy Miles, a social worker in Columbus, Ohio.
But sometimes people need to talk about the “taboo” topic and when that happens, they might not be able to find someone who will listen, she says.
“Whenever people hear I’m a hospice worker, they talk to me about death. It doesn’t matter if I’m on an airplane, gambling in Las Vegas, or in a grocery store line,” she said. “I really see firsthand the need to let people talk. It’s my gift to others.”
Her gift sparked the birth of “death cafes” in the U.S., a trend that started in England and is about to take off across America, she said.
Citing Religion, Some Health Workers Refuse Flu Shots
Unlike patients who have a choice about getting the flu shot, many health care workers didn’t have a say this year.
For the first time in Rhode Island, hospital and nursing home workers were told to roll up their sleeves, and hundreds of hospitals in other states have similar policies.
“No one likes to be coerced, and there were some people who objected,” says Virginia Burke, CEO of the Rhode Island Health Care Association, which provides skilled nurses and rehabilitation workers to the state’s nursing homes. “My fear when the mandate came out was we’d lose workforce. To my delight, that hasn’t happened.”
But more than 1,000 workers filed a petition to oppose the directive.