Higher Education and Religion: Potential Partners in Service to the Rural Elderly

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The last fifteen years have witnessed a rising wave of interest in the elderly population, and more recently, the rural elderly. Now that the initial wave has crested, a large store of information and experience in the field of gerontology exists. It is the task of higher education to take the lead in cataloging knowledge and plotting new strategies in both research and service. Moreover, the rural church must be recognized as an important structure available for cooperation with higher education in service to the rural elderly. In support of this point, the paper reviews the literature regarding 1) religion and the elderly and 2) the church and social services for the elderly. Higher education, through the rural churches, can help bring positive change through the provision of continuing education services to both the elderly and clergymen, through research, and through community development programs.