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The Gift of Years; the impact ofspirituality on the quality of life inolder adultsGeneral Assembly of the Multidisciplinary CouncilDonald Berman Maimonides Geriatric CenterFeb 1, 2012 - Philip Joudrey, DMin
Definitions and Distinctions Spirituality: the search for meaning, identity and purpose or mission in life or the search for the meaning of life and a reason for being Spirituality does not exclude religious reference and reality but this is neither an essential element nor its point of departure.
Who am I? Who do I love? Who loves me? Who has loved me in the past? What difference has my life made? What am I proudest of / happiest about ? Why did I do some of the things that have caused me and others harm….and what does it mean that I am capable of causing such harm? Why is this …..pain…suffering…dying…happening to me now? What does it mean that in a short time I shall be no more?
Definitions and Distinctions Religion: The expression of a person’s beliefs through the practice of rites and rituals, the use of symbols, the reverence of sacred places, books and objects. It involves affiliation with a specific community that has its own recognized leaders. Spiritual care is not necessarily religious, but religious care at its best should always be spiritual.
meaning sought through . . . relationships service or commitment and contribution to something outside of one’s self religious belief and practice
Specific to older adults… Necessity of change of focus in the second half of life Identifying that which gives life meaning as central to capacity to cope with changing realities of life and health Shifts: Reflection as opposed to accomplishment Quality vs quantity Being rather than doing
Sometimes I picture myself like acandle.I used to be a candle about eight feettall - burning bright.Now every day I lose a little bit of me.Someday the candle will beVery small.But the flame will beJust as bright Barbara Noon in Elizabeth MacKinley, (2003) “Aging and Spirituality across Faiths and Cultures” Jessica Kingsley Publishers, London, 2010 p. 21
H.O.P.E. model of spiritual history taking* H Sources of Hope, meaning comfort, strength, peace, love and connection O Organized Religion - does this feature, and what aspects are helpful P Personal spiritual beliefs and practices that are independent of organized religion E Effects of medical care, or how illness has affected spiritual practices * adapted from Anandarajah and Hight 2001
Challenges to our care The degree to which we have become aware of or own spiritual (and religious) history. The level to which we are prepared to embrace our own search for meaning. Our capacity to tolerate and respect difference The priority and resources that spirituality has on our organizations agenda
What in the story of their spiritual process might you be missing hearing? What do you still need to understand and support? What in your personal journey might help you with this? What in your journey might be getting in the way?
References and suggested reading:Anandarajah, G. and Hight , E. (2001) “Spirituality and medical practice; Using theHOPE questions as a practical tool for spiritual assessment” American Family Physician63, 1, 81-88.Chittister, Joan. (2008) The Gift of Years; Growing Older Gracefully. Ottawa:Novalis.Clements, William and Koenig, H. G. (1994) Aging and God; Spiritual Pathways toMental Health in Middle and Later Years. Oxford: Routledge Press.Jewell, Albert (ed) (2011) Spirituality and Personhood in Dementia. London: JessicaKingsley Publishers.Kimble, Melvin A, (ed) (2000) Victor Frankl’s Contribution to Spirituality and Aging.Binghamton, NY: The Haworth Pastoral PressMackinley, Elizabeth (ed) (2000). Aging and Spirituality across Faiths and Cultures.London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.Pargament, Kenneth I. (2007) Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapy; Understandingand Address the Sacred. New York: Guilford Press.
Film Clips:Fried Green Tomatoes. Directed by Jon Avnet.Hollywood CA: Universal Pictures, 1991. DVDThe Notebook. Directed by Nick Cassavetes.Hollywood, CA: New Line Cinema, 2004. DVD
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