COVID-19 Pandemic and the Elderly in Ghana- A Discussion of the Religious and Spiritual Implications for Their Wellbeing and Survival
The years 2020 and 2021 have been challenging for the elderly globally because of the unimaginable impact of COVID-19 pandemic on that age group. According to a report by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the greatest risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older. In this presentation, I wish to establish that religion and spirituality are essential mechanisms for the elderly to cope during crisis situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper will draw on a body of research which has shown a positive correlation between the wellbeing of the elderly and their spirituality or religiosity. This paper also seeks to discuss the spiritual needs of the elderly and suggests best approaches to provide care to meet their spiritual needs during the pandemic. This presentation would also highlight some results from an open-ended questionnaire survey administered to pastoral caregivers of the elderly in some selected Presbyterian church congregations in Ghana. The survey results provide evidence on how the elderly maintain their spirituality even under strict COVID-19 restrictions. Finally, this presentation will also highlight some pastoral care guidelines necessary for the promotion of the well-being and quality of life of elderly people during this COVID-19 pandemic and in future.