Spirituality Helps Elder Quality of Life Skyrocket With on Holidays
Now that we are entering a season of high spiritual celebrations Passover and Easter- it is important to involve elders who wish to celebrate the holidays. Religious rituals celebrated with family, friends, members of a congregation ( even on zoom in COVID)offer socialization and reminiscence thus the quality of life so many elders and can return joy to their lives especially in the pandemic that was like maggots to the wound of senior isolation.
Religion Comes in a Filing Cabinet
Leonie Nowitz, a geriatric care manager who has a deep interest in spirituality and writes about it often, once told me to look at spirituality as a question ” What is this all about”. As we age this question becomes primal, as we face death coming at a rapid pace. We wonder- do I go to heaven, to hell, or just energy or dust. Will I meet angels- my wife in heaven.?
Ms. Nowitz said that when you define religion, look at it as a filing cabinet with each drawer is a religion with it’s an answer to spirituality ” “What Is this all About”. There is one for Jews, Protestants, Hindu’s Muslims, Quakers, The Environment- all religions and belief systems.
How to Find An Elder’s Holiday Joy
So find this ” What’s This All About”filing” cabinet and pull out the right spiritual drawer. One assessment care managers can do to locate the filing drawer, is a Quality of Life assessment . You can find a geriatric care management quality of life assessment in the chapter on Quality of Life in the Handbook of Geriatric Care Management 4th ed, written by GCM Nina Herndon.
Using this GCM tool, you will find where joy can be found again for your client. If spirituality is something that would increase an elders’ quality of life, here are some activities that you may suggest to an older client or their family, especially on holidays when places of worship have their most spectacular music, smells, and bells, and pageantry.
Spiritual Quality of Life Activities During Coming Holidays
- Make sure the older person can attend a seder or easter dinner with family or friends if the elder all participants are fully vaccinated. If not try to arrange a zoom attendance and have the ritual dinner home delivered
- If an older person has dementia, you can offer to reminisce through questions about how they spent holidays like Passover or Easter when they were young.
- If the elder is homebound, has dementia, or cannot go out reconnect him or her with his spiritual background through arranging a ritual Easter or Passover dinner made or delivered.
- If a ritual holiday meal is not a good choice play familiar holiday prayer, music, etc.
- If you have a lonely or isolated client with no local family who wishes to return to a religious group over the holidays, reconnect them by arranging their attendance at a seder or Easter brunch or dinner, with a small fully vaccinated group from a congregation 0f a local church or synagogue or through a zoom holiday meal event or service.
- On Passover or Easter arrange for the elder to listen to holiday spiritual music, or readings from a sacred text from their own religion or watch a service on television or streaming via computer.
- Decorate their room with holiday decorations that represents their own religious holiday.
- If attending a holiday meal is not possible and a holiday event will take place like an Easter egg hunt have the older person attend if fully vaccinated or watch on zoom.
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