Faith in the Future: Healthcare, Aging, and the Role of Religion

Faith in the Future: Healthcare, Aging, and the Role of Religion

by Harold Koenig, Douglas M. Lawson
     
 

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Dr. Harold Koenig was recently interviewed by Newsweek (November 10, 2003) about his book Spirituality in Patient Care (Templeton Foundation Press) and his research in the area of religion and health. He has become the international voice on the subjects of spirituality, health, and aging. In this book he is joined by two other experts on aging and

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Overview

Dr. Harold Koenig was recently interviewed by Newsweek (November 10, 2003) about his book Spirituality in Patient Care (Templeton Foundation Press) and his research in the area of religion and health. He has become the international voice on the subjects of spirituality, health, and aging. In this book he is joined by two other experts on aging and human development. They present a compelling look at one of the most serious issues in today’s society: health care in America.

How will we provide quality healthcare to older adults who will need it during the next thirty to fifty years? Who will provide this care? How will it be funded? How can we establish systems of care now to be in place as demographic and health-related economic pressures mount?

Alongside the sobering reality of the challenges our country faces, there are reasons for optimism. Innovative programs created and maintained by volunteers and religious congregations are emerging as pivotal factors in meeting health care needs. Summarizing decades of scientific research and providing numerous inspirational examples and role models, the authors present practical steps that individuals and institutions may emulate for putting faith into action.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Combining demographic predictions with current examples, Koenig et al. make a convincing case that religion will be an important resource for coping with the coming elder care crisis, which will begin in earnest in 2011 when the first Baby Boomers turn 65. Koenig, a geriatric psychiatrist at Duke University and author of The Healing Power of Faith, has already attracted attention by publishing studies on the health benefits of religious participation-including some findings that are stronger than even most religious believers might have expected. Both membership in a faith community and individual spiritual practice are significantly correlated with longer life spans, shorter hospital stays and reduced incidence of depression. In light of these results, which the authors acknowledge are open to interpretation and further study, they suggest that religious organizations, volunteer networks and especially local congregations will be indispensable in caring for older adults and helping them care for each other. Can these resources actually meet the challenges of demographic shifts, uncontrolled inflation of health care costs and expectations and the tendency of Boomers (and later generations) to have weaker connections to religion and family than today's seniors? That is another question; and as the authors concede, health care and political institutions will be slow to change. But at a minimum, congregational leaders and volunteers will find encouragement for their efforts, and more than likely, a few new reasons and strategies for getting involved. (Mar.) Forecast: Newsweek's recent cover story on faith and healing prominently featured Koenig, who has also testified on spirituality before the United Nations and the U.S. Senate. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781932031355
Publisher:
Templeton Press
Publication date:
03/15/2004
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Harold G. Koenig, MD, is board certified in general psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, and geriatric medicine. He is on the faculty at Duke as professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and associate professor of medicine. Dr. Koenig is Director of Duke’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health and has published extensively in the fields of mental health, geriatrics, and religion, with over 350 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and close to 40 books in print or in preparation. He is also a registered nurse.

Douglas M. Lawson, PhD, is a fund-raising consultant to such organizations as the Smithsonian Institution, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Special Olympics, and hundreds of other nonprofit organizations. He is the author of Volunteering: 101 Ways You Can Improve the World and Your Life (1998) and Give to Live: How Giving Can Change Your Life (1999).

Malcolm McConnell is the author or coauthor of twenty-five books, many on medical or scientific subjects.

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