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The Significance of Spirituality in the Elderly

by Joseph Perinotti-Molinatti

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Institution: Arogosy University/Sarasota
Advisor(s): Dr. Kathleen P. Malinsky
Degree: Doctorate of Education
Year: 2005
Volume: 85 pages
ISBN-10: 1599426668
ISBN-13: 9781599426662


This study examines the meaning and the importance of spirituality in the well elderly who reside in their own homes and the significant spiritual experience that they encounter through relationships, religion, and services. Qualitative Research Methodology was incorporated in this study to help explore and interpret the research in order to uncover the importance and significance of spirituality on the daily lives of the well elderly. Twenty participants were invited and ten participated in an unstructured interview and were surveyed and asked to respond to a list of questions pertaining to the role of spirituality in their everyday lives. The results were collected via interview transcription, grouped into the respective themes and categories, and carefully evaluated. The study analyzed the extent to which the Meaning of Life and Connection and Meaning of Spirituality is found to be an important and necessary part of a well elderly person's daily life.

The findings in the study identified major significance of spirituality in the participants who considered the most important factor, second most important factor, and third most important factor when it came to relationships, religion, and services. The results also indicated aspects related to the horizontal dimension and vertical dimension. The openness of each participant facilitated the gathering and interpretation of the data for the study. The outcome clearly identifies the importance spirituality plays in the daily life of the well elderly and indicates the significance of spirituality throughout the life span.

The results indicated that regardless of a person's family history, educational background, or religious upbringing, spirituality played a certain role in their daily lives and that there is a powerful influential spiritual force that guides them during periods when they may be lonely, or suffering from a feeling of being isolated from the outside world. Each participant was aware of the significance of spirituality and the important role it plays in their life in the present and across the life span. The elderly felt that they had knowledge of various modalities and how spirituality plays a principal role in a spectrum of real-life practices including prayer, helping others, or just staying in tune with the beauty of the world around them.