Religion, Spirituality, and Aging: A Social Work Perspective

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Learn how to make a more positive impact with your social work with the aged

Religion is an important coping mechanism for many aging adults. Religion, Spirituality, and Aging: A Social Work Perspective presents the latest research that shows how religion and spirituality can improve quality of life for elders. Respected social work researchers and scholars provide insight and practical methods for fostering positive aging while also considering how spirituality and religion can affect practitioners themselves. The full range of advantages and ethical implications are discussed in clear detail from a social work viewpoint. Case studies plainly illustrate the positive impact that the inclusion of spirituality and religion in an aging person’s life may have on their physical and mental welfare.

Organized social work in the early twentieth century actively tried to distance itself from its roots as a form of religious charity in favor of becoming a scientific and professional endeavor. Religion, Spirituality, and Aging once again bridges the gap between social work and spiritual matters by presenting penetrating articles that discusses the issues of the aging soul while examining ways to improve care. Creative strategies are offered to contribute to the spiritual side of aging while considering every implication and ethical question. The compilation is extensively referenced and includes helpful figures and tables to clearly illustrate data and ideas.

Religion, Spirituality, and Aging discusses:

  • the latest social work trends and attitudes toward spirituality
  • prayer, meditation, and acts of altruism as interventions
  • an empirical study of how social workers use religion and spirituality as an intervention
  • ethical considerations and best practices
  • religion and spirituality during long-term care
  • the “Postcards to God” project
  • dreams and their relationship to the search for meaning in later life
  • a spiritual approach to positive aging through autobiography
  • dementia and spirituality
  • creating new rituals for sacred aging
  • spiritual master Henri Nouwen’s principles of aging—and his approaches to caring for older people
  • an interview study on elders’ spirituality and the changes manifested in their views of religion
Religion, Spirituality, and Aging is a remarkable reminder that elders are our future selves. This erudite, well-reasoned examination of aging and spirituality from a social work perspective is crucial reading for social workers, human service professionals who work with the aged, and gerontology scholars.
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Product Details

Table of Contents

  • About the Contributors
  • Foreword
  • Introduction: Knowledge, Practice, and Hope (Harry R. Moody)
  • Research in Spirituality, Religion, and Aging (David O. Moberg)
  • Religion, Spirituality, and Aging for “The Aging” Themselves (Henry C. Simmons)
  • Religion and Coping in Older Adults: A Social Work Perspective (Holly Nelson-Becker)
  • Religiosity as a Mediator of Caregiver Well-Being: Does Ethnicity Make a Difference? (Carmen L. Morano and Denise King)
  • “Religion Is the Finding Thing”: An Evolving Spirituality in Late Life (Susan A. Eisenhandler)
  • Religious Congregations as Social Services Providers for Older Adults (Ram A. Cnaan, Stephanie C. Boddie, and Jennifer J. Kang)
  • Guided by Ethics: Religion and Spirituality in Gerontological Social Work Practice (Vicki Murdock)
  • Caregivers’ Use of Spirituality in Ethical Decision-Making (Terry L. Koenig)
  • Spirituality and Social Work in Long-Term Care (Marty Richards)
  • Geriatric Care Management: Spiritual Challenges (Leonie Nowitz)
  • Postcards to God: Exploring Spiritual Expression Among Disabled Older Adults (Mark Brennan, Sarah B. Laditka, and Amy Cohen)
  • Creating Sacred Scenarios: Opportunities for New Rituals and Sacred Aging (Richard Address)
  • Culture Change in Long-Term Care: Educating the Next Generation (Dwight Roth)
  • Autobiography as a Spiritual Practice (John-Raphael Staude)
  • Dreams for the Second Half of Life (Harry R. Moody)
  • A Pastoral Understanding of Positive Aging (Samuel R. Seicol)
  • Land of Forgetfulness: Dementia Care as Spiritual Formation (Wayne A. Ewing)
  • Caregiving and Our Inner Elder: Insights from a Spiritual Master (Richard Griffin)
  • Living with Elder Wisdom (Eugene Bianchi)
  • Index
  • Reference Notes Included
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