Pious Life of Elderly People in Ampara District of Sri Lanka

  •  S. M. Ayoob    


Religion has continued to occupy a very important part in human life from time immemorial. Almost all the followers of the various religions have belief in the existence of God. It helps humankind to find solace in God while religious instructions assist them to guide their lives in the right way without being tempted to engage in sinful activities. The followers of religion are mostly the elderly people rather than the younger generation in many societies. Elders’ more extensive life experience, education and worldly wisdom enable them to lead a more pious life than the youngsters, who still have much to learn. The elders try to set an example to the youngsters in order to persuade them also to be religious. The aim of the study is to find out the roles the elders play when engaging in religious activities during the ageing period and to explore the reasons for the high level of piousness among them. In this study, both qualitative and quantitative methods such as questionnaire survey, interviews and focus group discussions were employed as data collection techniques. The findings indicate that listening to religious sermons, participating in religious celebrations, performing administrative and leadership roles, doing social work, going on spiritual journeys and visiting the sick and praying for them are the notable religious activities undertaken by the elderly people. Being very pious can lead to religious experiences, prevent feelings of isolation and loneliness, provide opportunities for social interaction, grant peace of mind, help pass the time, increase the physical strength and improve mental health by reducing anxiety and aimless behaviour. These are some of the major reasons for the high level of piousness observed among the elderly people who were the subjects of this study.

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