By Pastor Maricel Monceda-Osias
According to a recent survey, the Philippine population is aging. It is projected that by the end of 2018, senior citizens (60 years old and above) would comprise 8.2% of the total population. This means that 8,013,059 Filipinos would have been considered senior citizens by year-end.
The pressure for the government and other related agencies is how to cater to the needs of the senior citizens in all aspects of their lives.
With this data, Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. (KKFI), through the Pastoral Care Department (PCD) is responding to the call for the ministry to older people. We have organized the “Day Center for Older Persons” (Day-C) that regularly meets every Friday, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. About 15-20 senior citizens from different churches around Metro Manila attend the meetings. Despite the travel distance and their physical condition, they are very diligent in attending the Friday meetings at KKFI.
The purpose of Day-C is simply to cater to the needs of the senior citizens, especially their emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual needs. It is our response as Christians to the call of God to administer to these people by making them realize God’s loving presence in their midst as God said in Isaiah 46:4, “Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hair I will carry you. I have made and I will bear; I will carry and I will save.”
The program tries to nurture the seniors through the following activities:
- Disciple through Bible Study
It is our aim to minister to the spiritual aspect of the life of senior citizens through bible study. We call it “Disciple through Bible Study.” As we study the bible, we let the Word of God speak to them and through them.
- Care Group/Group Counseling
Care Group is done to make sure that everybody in the group, as they share their lives will be given care and will receive care from every member of the group. It is here that they learn to value and listen to one another. As they share their lives they also share their struggles, fears–especially fear of death–anxiety, depression, frustrations, disappointments (either with their families or with fellow Day-C members), anger, aspirations, lamentations to God and so on. It is here where Group Counseling takes place to meet the psychological and emotional needs of the Day-C.
- Physical Exercise
Before we start each meeting, some members of the group lead the morning exercise with Zumba dance. We encourage them to give value to their physical health as they age. In fact, they have the “Health Consciousness Month” celebration every November. Tips to nurture their physical health are emphasized.
- Visitation and Outdoor Fellowship
To show that they care for one another, visitation to sick members of the group are often done. In addition, strengthening group relationship is done through outdoor fellowship. “Lakbay Aral” is also where they learn livelihood skills from different companies.
The Day Center for Older Persons is just one of the many ministries KKFI is doing to the last, the least, and the lost in the Philippine society. May God bless the institution in its aspirations for God’s glory.