Religion, Spirituality, and Aging: A Social Work Perspective

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Routledge, Dec 6, 2012 - Family & Relationships - 364 pages
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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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About the author (2012)

Harry R. Moody is a graduate of Yale University and received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University. He has taught philosophy at Columbia University, Hunter College, New York University, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. He recently retired as Vice President and Director of Academic Affairs for AARP in Washington, DC. He is currently Visiting Professor at Tohoku University in Japan, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at Fielding Graduate University. Dr. Moody previously served as Executive Director of the Brookdale Center on Aging at Hunter College and Chairman of the Board of Elderhostel (now Road Scholar). Moody is the author of over 100 scholarly articles, as well as a number of books including: "Abundance of Life: Human Development Policies for an Aging Society" (Columbia University Press, 1988) and "Ethics in an Aging Society" (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992). His most recent book, "The Five Stages of the Soul", was published by Doubleday Anchor Books and has been translated into seven languages worldwide. He is the editor of a newsletter, "Human Values in Aging," reaching 10,000 subscribers each month. In 2011 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society on Aging and in 2008 he was named by "Utne Reader Magazine" as one of 50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.

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