For some seniors, one of the hardest things about accepting that they are becoming more home bound is the inability to attend their local church, even with home care. The spiritual support of a church family is a lifelong source of strength, and when an individual must stay at home all the time, he or she really misses the fellowship and activities of church.

Many churches have visiting ministries, which see to it that home bound seniors aren’t left without pastoral teaching and congregational fellowship. However, not all churches have such ministries set up and even when they do, there may not be enough lay volunteers to cover all the needs.

As it is in so many other areas, technology is changing the way churches operate, and some of those changes make it possible for seniors to continue participating in their church’s life without even leaving the house.

Live Video or On-Demand Sermon Streaming

Tools like webcams have been in use for quite a while for small-scale live video communication. Using higher quality equipment, a church’s sound and video crew can record an entire service and stream it online as it takes place.

Other options include sites that offer excellent sermon choices “on demand”. There are some special requirements for a church that broadcasts online; for example, the complexities of live video require substantial Internet bandwidth, which can be costly.

Spiritual Home Care

An elderly person who is dependent on home care can simply pull up a church’s live streaming website (perhaps bookmarked ahead of time by a caregiver) at the time of the service and hit “play” to tune in. Even more convenient, seniors receiving home care can go to on-demand sermon sites and watch or listen when convenient.

Of course, there is really no substitute for sitting in a church sanctuary or venue with others, but live streaming or on-demand streaming seem to be the next best thing. Seniors who are not able to sit through an entire service due to health needs can even do other things while their church’s service is playing on their computer.

Getting Connected

Homebound elderly people can begin watching services from a number of churches in San Diego County (or around the world) right away.

- For live streaming, you can vsit a website like Christian World Media to see a list of churches around the world that broadcast their services live for free. It is becoming easier and less expensive for the average small church to set up its own live stream through services that provide the web infrastructure.

- For on-demand streaming, check out SearchableSermons, provided by well-known “mega church” North Coast Church in Vista, California. Another good choice is SermonAudio.com.

- Another good audio or video option is to watch or listen to podcasts. Many churches are publishing at least the audio from their weekend sermons as podcasts. Some, including North Coast Church, have even released iPhone apps that allow the user to watch and listen to the sermons on your favorite Senior’s iPad or iPod or iPhone.

The use of this powerful new tool is not limited to public services, either. Many pastors are using one-on-one video chats to communicate with seniors who can’t leave the home. When a home visit is not possible, a pastor can spend a few important minutes talking online, giving important encouragement and updates on the rest of the church family.

Author's Bio: 

Tim Colling is the President and Administrator of A Servant's Heart Care Solutions, a leading provider of in-home care and professional geriatric care management services. For more information about in-home are and geriatric care management, visit A Servant's Heart Care Solutions online.