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Giuseppe Giordan. Predicting Religion. Grace Davie. Becoming Myself. Identifying the barriers attempting to utilize skills and language to diffuse potential barriers to spiritual communication and 5. Demonstrating respect and willingness to learn treating individuals with different spiritual frameworks as teachers. I believe that this model would be useful for those serving older adults in communities of faith. Perhaps people would feel more supported and included in these spiritual spaces and places if this model served as a foundation of practice.

As an academic gerontologist, educator, and advocate, I have looked for models and examples of this type of education or training program. I am curious about the tools out there being developed and disseminated to those working to serve elders in communities of faith. In a cursory review of programs, certifications, and opportunities for training related to spiritual and ageing, I come up short with a list of viable and thriving programs.

Paul, Minnesota from until McFadden, Kimble, Ellor, Seeber, and Rost , explained that the Center provided an ecumenical, interdisciplinary continuing education program for clergy, chaplains, lay leaders, and others interested in pastoral care and ministry with older persons and that the work at the Center illustrated the need for immanent and transcendent meaning in later life.

The article details the inception and history of CARS and concludes that while such centers are difficult to fund with the support of the university and institutional dollars, the types of programming and education needed for clergy, laypersons and those serving in communities of faith remains vitally needed and essential. McFadden et al. Similar to McFadden et al. Looking forward I do think we need to do a better job of promoting and bolstering spiritual and gerontological competency. If you are reading this blog post and agree and wish to start a dialogue about how to resurrect the work of Dr.

There remains a need to pay attention to the religiousness and spirituality of ageing. However, only the units that received the largest number of references, being the most important for the elderly people, were presented: Support, Relation with the Sacred, and Transcendence.

Half of the interviewees considered Spirituality to be a source of Support:. Violence is spreading It seems to me that life has become very banal Hydrangea, According to Frankl 24 , one of the roles of religion is to provide a sensation of support and refuge. For these elderly people, Support is related not only to a religious practice or belief; spirituality is seen as a fundamental form of sustaining support. These results are in agreement with what was emphasized by Guerrero 25 : in cancer patients, support from the concept of God is a need, and favors a greater confrontation of the feelings and emotions inherent to the process of illness and treatment.

In the literature, spirituality can be considered to be a quest for comprehension of the existential questions related to the Sacred 7 , 26 , The older people in our study also perceive it in this relationship with the Sacred. The term also denotes the existential questions about the meaning of life, that are articulated through this relationship 5 , 27 , which may be through the belief in saints, as indicated by Rose, 68, or in the relationship with the Divine, and cited by Carnation, Carnation, This corroborates the statements of Jung 17 on the need for introspection and seeking for the interior god, experienced by the elder person.

Aging and spirituality

The speech of Jasmine, 79, even though the subject is not professing religion, relates the subject with a Higher Being and refers to God as father:. Jasmine, All the speeches that relate to the Transcendental are in the direction of the relationship with what is beyond the visible. The meanings of Religion are mostly associated with the Religious Affiliation, Culture and Dogmas: Most stated that they professed or had professed some religion. Religious affiliation also comes with a strong component of the sense of belonging:. There is a social interaction that takes place when the individual is involved in religion, enabling the exchange of information between the group 32 ; the sense of belonging enables the individual to have the perception that his feelings are understood and accepted, which leads to a feeling of welcome, acceptance and support.

Most older people consider that the terms spirituality and religion are not synonymous, but they do not use a specific identification to differentiate them. However, there is a consensus that spirituality does not depend on religion.


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For those interviewed, there is the possibility of professing a religion, without this meaning that one has a spiritual life; and the contrary can also occur. This comprehension that there is a relationship or a superimposition between the terms does not denote a requirement that for spiritual life to take place there has to exist a religious practice; and this is underlined and strengthened both by the elderly participants and by the literature 8 , The importance given to Spirituality by the interviewees stands out, since all the participants recognize it as important in their lives, in different levels of intensity and attribution of value, and it is lived by all in its practical and subjective aspects.

Anthurium, Spirituality is very important — in my life, it is. Lilly, As can be seen in Figure 1 , the ways of living spirituality can be both institutional and through internal experience. For the majority of the interviewees, reading of the Bible, books and magazines related to the religion professed is frequent and develops positive feelings and emotions in all those who practice it.

To be older, for the interviewees, is not only a chronological question, because within a single age group there are great differences in the way in which they perceive, feel and live this stage of life. This is due in part to the heterogeneity of old age — the fact that there are specific demands for each individual Thus, we cannot leave out of account that aging is part of the cycle of life and, for this reason itself, it is a time of changes, transformations and development 34 - Even though by definition people above the age of 60 can be considered elderly, in the developed countries we are experiencing a process of change in the manner of perceiving and living old age.

In this age group we still find images of fragile, ill and dependent old people; however, it is not hard to find older people who remain active and do not consider themselves to be living old age, as in the case of Tulip, Thus, one can differentiate old age into two moments: the initial phase, seen as positive, because the elderly person keeps himself active, and thus has many perspectives and possibilities to be lived; and in the second stage, with advancing age, a period of vulnerability takes over, with limitations that can alter and adversely affect functional performance, and also cause emotional fragility 29 , such as in Jasmine, 79, and Lily, Elderly people suffer from fragility and the wear and tear caused by chronic illnesses.

Even having resources for confronting these, a greater physical and psychological suffering appears, showing that the illness has had a strong impact on physical health, causing a significant reduction in mobility, with progressive limitations. I increasingly have limitations in my life, and I have always been very free, independent. Now because of this illness, I have to walk depending on a cane, I only go to church on Sunday, sometimes I go on Wednesday [ Lily, Jasmine, 79, and Lily, 89, are living with functional incapacity.

Suffering limitations not only causes physical pain 37 ; it involves a loss of oneself by remitting the individual to the end of life, of productive capacity and of relationships.

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Physiological limitations create a pain that is not limited to their objective and concrete meaning, but involves subjective aspects. However, as Frankl 38 highlighted, the suffering can only destroy the individual if it is a suffering without meaning. Having possession of a spiritual liberty expressed in words, gestures and attitudes, even if undergoing continuous daily suffering, elderly people seem to have a higher meaning, both for their lives and for the suffering.

Aging can stimulate and promote changes of different types and impacts. The acceptance of difficulties and capacity for accommodation to limitations makes possible a greater satisfaction in old age. In view of so many aspects, the spirituality related to aging is also revealed, for two elderly people, in the losses of affectionate relationships, caused by death and separation of spouses:. But the Holy Spirit is helping me a lot Until maybe one year goes by and I manage to find someone [ I only want God to give me a [female] companion.

Hyacinth, And I was not like that, I was just fine. Arum Lily, Faced with these losses and the proximity of death, there is a greater need for self-understanding and meaning; resistance to this existential crisis can only take place through an interior transformation. Through spirituality, by finding support and opportunities to reflect, if it possible to overcome the losses Hyacinth, 71, revealed dedication to — and being supported by — the church, as well as receiving help from the Holy Spirit.

Through this report it is observed that, when talking about the church, this elderly person refers to the support received from people of his community, as well as the activities in which he is engaged, thus underlining the role of the religious community as a source of social support for an elderly person who is in mourning Thus, spirituality is represented by the relationship with the faith community and also with the transcendental. Further, it is used in the understanding of suffering as a possibility of change and adaptation in the construction of a new meaning of existence, which permeates the speech of Hyacinth, 71, with the hope of a new start.

For Arum Lily, 65, the separation from the spouse after 30 years of marriage also seems to have generated some type of suffering; thus, in separate degrees, these two elderly people show that they are using their faith to generate, in themselves, feelings of confidence and hope.

Ageing and Spirituality across Faiths and Cultures

Spirituality, in this context, looks for a new meaning in the relationship with God or with the Holy Spirit, as these subjects report, which strengthens them to face and overcome the feelings of sadness and loneliness. Satisfactory perception of spirituality was very much strengthened by the elderly subjects, as an indicator of subjective wellbeing Krause 41 concluded that the meaning of life is responsible for generating positive emotions, which have a beneficial effect even in the immunological functioning of individuals; thus, elder people who develop a strong sense of meaning have better conditions of health and satisfaction, living more than the others who do not have this perception.

Old age without God is an empty old age. Old age with God, you fill up the emptiness with God. This existential vacuum is no more, and no less, than the absence of meaning Some participants reveal that spirituality is also experienced in old age through Continuity. For them, this aspect has always been important.

Ageing and spirituality across faiths and cultures

It can be observed that, in general, this group of old people, both from their statements, and also from the levels of Quality of Life, give value and importance to the living of Spirituality in this phase of life. The high scores in the Psychological Health and Social Relationships domains also indicate this positive influence. Corroborating these data are Moraes and Witter 44 , who investigated the extrinsic and intrinsic quality of life of old people between age 65 and 86, and the importance of religion.

And its practice was evaluated as positive by all the participants in the study. Thus, in Category 4 — Spirituality and Quality of Life in Old Age, in the Sub-category Physical Health Figure 2 , the interviewees revealed that the influence of the construct on their perception of the quality of life refers to Health and Energy. For some, their spiritual life helps them in maintaining, promoting and restoring health, through their relationship of connection with the Higher Being. The changes of habits and behavior resulting from the development of spirituality and the building of new meaning of life are also highlighted in various spheres of living 18 ,