Spirituality is a term with different meanings. It depends on an individual and the beliefs he/she has. One of the definitions of spirituality is that it is the purpose and meaning that people look search for in their lives. It gives people a sense of their value and worth in their lives. The vice is critical in the development of the inner peace and strength of the whole body. Optimism and hope are very critical in the world of spirituality. A person does not need to be religious for him to be spiritual.
Spirituality is paramount in people's lives. It gives them hope and a future in their daily lives. Spirituality tends to play a huge role among the aging population. The greatest percentage of the aging population tends to suffer from various illnesses that come with old age. The diseases that are becoming very common among the elderly population are chronic cardiac diseases. The diseases are usually life-threatening and hence impact heavily on the quality of life of the affected and their respective families
Spirituality has different effects on the quality of life depending on the age. By observing the role of the vice between two old people, it is common to find some differences and similarities. One person aged sixty-eight years was suffering from a chronic cardiac disease. The other person aged eighty-five years is, however, very healthy. Spirituality plays some similar and different roles in the quality of the two older people.
Spirituality and Life After Death
One similarity is that high levels of spirituality help the old population believe that there is life after death. People in the age above sixty-five years all tend to have a single worry. They always see death approaching and hence tend to wonder what will happen after they die. It does not matter whether they are sick or healthy. The thoughts of death sometimes impact negatively on their lives. They tend to flashback and start wondering whether their achievements in the world are enough or not. Some of them become weak lose hope and eventually die early. It is at this point that spirituality comes in. The belief of life after death impacts very positively on their lives in that it gives them satisfaction. They believe death will not be the end of everything, and hence, they live more satisfying lives than earlier.
Spirituality of the Future
The second similar role spirituality plays are providing optimism towards the future. Both people become optimistic about better things and times are coming. The ill person becomes more confident that the illness is there just for a short period and will, therefore, come to an end soon. Spirituality makes him believe that everything is God's purpose and that He always wants the best for His people. The other healthy individual is also optimistic that he will not suffer from any illness that may cause an earlier death. Both individuals always live in fear that old age makes one prone to diseases that may be difficult to recover. The healthy 85-year-old also becomes optimistic that God will grant him/her more years to live in the world. The overall impact is that the quality of life of the two individuals improves significantly. Living a quality life, on the other hand, makes them contribute more towards society.
Spirituality as a Source to Deal With Challenges
The aging population uses spirituality as a coping mechanism in their lives. Both two individuals experience different life challenges that are normal in human life. However, being spiritual makes them optimistic that challenges are there to improve the quality of life. Better times will be on their way, and hence, there is no need for desperation. The 85-year-old most probably has grown children who may bring a lot of stress to him/her. Being a parent will always expose one to challenges arising from the children. The same case happens to the 68-year-old who though maybe ill, still has to deal with his/her kids. It is at that point where high degrees of spirituality are necessary.
Spirituality Improves Quality of Life
Empowering the aging population to practice healthy feeding habits is another critical role that spiritualism plays in enhancing the quality of life of the two elderly individuals. Spirituality involves faith in God as the healer and provider. Both individuals though are different regarding health; they need a proper diet to stay alive. Spirituality helps them see that God provided them with food to consume and take care of their bodies. The same God according to the Bible, instructed man on what to eat and what not to consume (Idethia S. Harvey, 2007). The consequences of not following the instructions are also well explained. The sick 68-year-old needs proper feeding with the right kind of food so as to recover from the illness. The other 85-year- old is growing older and weaker hence, she needs a proper diet to stay active. However, with the practice of appropriate diet habits, their quality of life improves gradually.
Relationship Between Spirituality and Health
Spirituality, on the other hand, can play different roles for the two elderly people. Research shows that the more aged people above eighty years tend to have high spirituality degree levels than the younger people. The eighty-five-year-old will tend to spend most of the time connecting more spiritually with God through prayers. The age of eighty-five years is a hoary age and it's not something people take for granted. People at that age always see death approaching. The thought of death is their main worry. The individual is healthy hence, he has the energy to keep on praying to connect more spiritually with the creator. Spirituality for him will play a role in giving him more hope that there are still some more years left. The assurance alone is the only comforter for him/her at that age.
However, the case is different for the sixty-eight-year-old who is suffering from cardiac conditions. The person is still young and would still have energy were it not for the disease. The religious beliefs of the person might make him feel disadvantaged or ask questions regarding the illness. The person needs goods from the health practitioners. The spiritual belief that God is the healer will go a long way in providing satisfaction to the individual. Prayers are connected to spirituality and hence they are essential.
Spirituality and Well-Being
Prayers may heal the aged. The only thing that concerns the person at the time is the disease that is disturbing him. Research shows that spirituality is a good predictor of the psychological well-being of humans. Having a good mental feeling will automatically lead to living a healthier life. The welfare of the 85-year-old is very different from that of the 68-year-old since their health status is not the same. Spirituality will play a bigger role in improving the living condition of the sick 68-year-old than that of the 85-year-old.
There have been several studies to try and examine the impact of spirituality on older people who have poor health. The surveys showed that the religious attendance of the people declined as the people approached death. However, the people felt comforted and strengthened by it (Sarah E. Kirby, 2003).
As the physical health of the aged worsens, it forces them to cope with the rising challenges and confront their mortality. The feeling tends to impact negatively on the people, and they need adequate resources to deal with the effect. Religion and spirituality are such essential resources since they bring a feeling of personal meaning. There is intimacy with a power higher than the individual. The two are life-changing and cause people to shed off old values and incorporate new ones. Their circumstances and feelings change for the better results in the maintenance of their overall well-being.
The old population requires proper development support and care to improve their chances of aging properly. Spirituality is evolving and segregating itself from religion. The old society requires spiritual care so as to find purpose and meaning in their lives. It is achieved by giving the appropriate attention, time, and support to the aging population. Other various activities can support the three necessities of spiritual care. The aging population needs people around them at all times to comfort them and take care of their needs. It brings them much joy and happiness in their lives.
Idethia S. Harvey, M. S. (2007). The Role of Spirituality in the Self-management of Chronic Illness among Older African and Whites. HHS Public Access, 220.
Sarah E. Kirby, P. G. (2003). Spirituality and Well-Being in Frail and Nonfrail Older Adults. the journals of gerontology, 129.
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