In the recent past, the interest in spirituality and aging has gained momentum in research, practice, and academia. Specifically, this new concept of spirituality in aging is attributable to the overwhelming evidence of positive health outcomes associated with both spirituality and religious participation among older people (Mohammadi et al., 2017). Furthermore, increasing longevity in the modern time places the concept of spirituality as a vital need for older adults. The understanding of individual spiritual perspectives is an increasingly important factor in practice when considering the issues of physical illness, loss, and mortality that older adults have to confront. Therefore, this brief research paper aims to examine the significance of addressing spirituality with the elderly in healthcare.
A growing body of research provides evidence linking spirituality with overall well-being and positive aging. Spirituality plays an important role in the process of aging for older adults. Research shows that positive spirituality helps decrease the feeling of helplessness and loss of control common in people with illnesses (Mohammadi et al., 2017). In addition, spirituality helps reduce stress and replaces it with increased feelings of the purpose of life. Moreover, spiritual participation such as prayers reduces feelings of isolation among older people with illnesses. Similarly, the community aspect surrounding the concept of spirituality can have positive outcomes for the elderly. A good understanding of spirituality also helps the elderly adjust to the realities of growing older and dying.
Spiritual counseling is an example of an intervention method that uses spirituality in its approach. This intervention method involves a religious or spiritual counselor as part of the expert team of professionals in healthcare (Mohammadi et al., 2017). The role of the counselor is to help the elderly develop a good understanding of their spirituality and beliefs about life, health, and death. Through this form of therapy, the elderly can adjust to some aspects of growing older and dying.
From a personal point of view, using spirituality as an intervention leads to positive outcomes. The practitioners need to have a good understanding of the beliefs and spirituality of each patient and tie care approaches to this concept. In this way, it is possible to use the spirituality approach to give the old and sick people hope and an understanding of the meaning of life.
Mohammadi, M., Alavi, M., Bahrami, M., & Zandieh, Z. (2017). Assessment of the relationship between spiritual and social health and the self-care ability of elderly people referred to community health centers. Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, 22(6), 471-475. doi: 10.4103/ijnmr.IJNMR_171_16