Spirituality Means More As We Age
Spirituality can matter more as you age. Now that we are entering a season of high spiritual celebrations like Easter- this is an important ritual to involve elders in spiritual communities. Religious communities offer elders socialization thus increasing their quality of life and returning joy to their lives.
What is This all About?
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, for we face death coming at a rapid pace. Elders 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 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.
Spiritual Quality Of Life Assessment
One assessment care managers can do is a spiritual quality of life assessment to find out where joy can be found again. 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
- If an older person appears isolated and is unable to attend their place a worship, especially on holidays, because of not driving or disability and they wish to still join a congregation, contact the head of the religious group and ask if members could transport him or if they have a van service or arrange for members to transport them to services. If they cannot get out ask if the spiritual leader or congregation members would make home visits.
- If an older person is not now a part of a religious group but what once was and has some interest in returning, holidays are the best times to reconnect. Contact the head of the religious group and ask him/her to make a home visit and the care manager follow-up with transportation arrangements if yes.
- If an older client has had a recent close relative or friend die and wishes to return to a spiritual group she knew before, connect them, with the congregation they are familiar with for solace or grieving.
- If an older person moves to a new area and is part of a religious group connect them to the same religion and place of worship in the new town and arrange transportation and a new member to greet them
- If an older person has dementia if possible reconnect him her with his spiritual background through familiar prayer, music, etc.
- If an elder has dementia and can attend services without being disruptive, arrange for a caregiver to take them as they can still be drawn in by the ” Smells and Bells’
- If you have a homebound client who wishes to return to a religious group, reconnect them by arranging, in their, spiritual music, religious icons (a rosary or image, for example), readings from a sacred text, watching a service on television, listening to one on the radio or via computer