The Spiritual Dimension of Ageing

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9781843100089: The Spiritual Dimension of Ageing
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What gives a frail and isolated or institutionalised older person their sense of wholeness and self? What makes later life meaningful? This clear and practical text presents much-needed guidance for health and social care practitioners, as well as for religious professionals, seeking to identify and meet the spiritual needs of older people in their caring role. Drawing on in-depth interviews with older people, Elizabeth MacKinlay, an experienced nurse and chaplain, develops an understanding of spirituality that enables the reader to explore the spiritual dimension of ageing and to learn how it contributes to well being and health in later life. This accessible and inspiring book will be a useful text for students, trainers and academics, policy makers and practitioners in health and social care, as well as religious professionals, in hospital, residential and other caring settings.

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I recommend this book for both educational study and personal reading. Although written for the general market, it does not reduce spirituality merely to feelings or a set of mythological beliefs, nor does it assume all religions are equivalent, even though it has only passing mention of non- Christian religions. It covers the major topics that ought to be infused into the awareness of all who work with ageing people, whether in volunteer services or in professions like nursing, pastoral care or social work. Author: Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith

MacKinlay's book has had a significant influence on those who wish to develop a holistic approach to the care of older people... clear and practical. Author: Leveson Newsletter (The Leveson Centre for the study of Ageing, Spirituality and Social Policy)

A rich, well-written and accessible resource on an important subject which offers insights into the spiritual lives of older people. A summary at the end of each chapter highlights the key issues...This book is a great contribution to the literature and is relevant to all health professionals. Author: British Journal of Occupational Therapy

'The discussions about life after death make fascinating reading for those who, like me, are actively involved in providing pastoral care within the context of a faith community, especially as many of those interviewed are quite happy to describe their spirituality in non-religious terms'. Author: Ageing and Society

This book is an excellent resource and a wealth of information from someone who clearly knows her field and is passionate about finding appropriate ways of companioning men and women as they grow old. She is particularly helpful at many points where she suggests areas of further work needing to be done and I suspect that this will become a book many people will turn to over and over again. She dares to suggest that our accustomed ways of thinking and acting have been less than adequate when spirituality has been neglected and major shifts have to be made. This will challenge many practitioners to examine their prejudices and their priorities and that will ultimately be a great gift to us. Author: Australian Journal of Ageing

This recent addition to Jessica Kingsley's series concerned with spirituality and aging is greatly to be welcomed. The book comes close to being a definitive one for both clergy and health and social care professionals and is an excellent read for older people themselves and their carers. The Spiritual Dimension of Aging has many strengths. Mackinlay succeeds better than most in making the necessary distinctions between religion, faith and spirituality. She is very illuminating concerning reminiscence and life review. Her sense of direction is quite clear. Viewing human beings as "meaning-makers", she sees the spiritual task of aging as a comprising transcending adversity, seeking final meanings, finding intimacy (with God and others) and holding onto hope. The practical implications for nurses and pastoral carers are well set out. Her work was enlivened by the humour through which older people transcend circumstances and she pays humble tribute to the depth of sharing in which she felt privileged to join. Author: Leveson Centre for the Study of Ageing, Newsletter

The Spiritual Dimension Of Ageing by Elizabeth Mackinlay comes close to being a definitive book for health and social care professionals but is also of much wider interest... the issues covered in the book are universal. Mackinlay's contention is that "spiritual health in ageing can be enhanced by sensitising older people to their own spiritual journeys, by assessing the spiritual needs of frail older people and by assisting older people effectively to meet their spiritual needs". Reminiscence and life review are important means to this end, and Mackinlay covers this aspect well. Author: Journal Of The British Society of Gerontology

The book is an excellent resource and a wealth of information from someone who clearly knows her field and is passionate about finding appropriate ways of companioning men and women as they grow old. She is particularly helpful at many points where she suggests areas of further work needing to be done and I suspect that that this will become a book many people will turn to over and over again. She dares to suggest that our accustomed ways of thinking and acting have been less than adequate when spirituality has been neglected and major shifts have to be made. This will challenge many practitioners to examine their prejudices and their priorities and that will ultimately be a great gift to us. Author: Australasian Journal of Ageing

The book is enlightening for anyone interested in the subject matter, but particularly useful for those in any caring profession - health or social. The book highlights the fundamental importance of recognising spiritual well-being throughout the ageing process, something we should all be aware of! Author: Signpost

From the Author:

Elizabeth MacKinlay, an Anglican priest, is Director of the Centre for Ageing and Pastoral Studies in Canberra, Australia, and Chair of the Australian Capital Territory Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing. She is Professor at the Charles Sturt University School of Theology.

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