Many are of the opinion that spirituality and religion are one and the same. But this, in fact, is far from the case. All individuals have a spiritual element but not every individual is religious. Religion may be termed as the physical manifestation of spirituality.
It represents the rituals, practices and organization of one’s convictions. Spirituality has far wider connotations.
Spirituality is a system of convictions that incorporates compassion, love and respect for life. Individuals may live both spirituality and religion internally or externally with other people, groups or organizations. Spirituality revolves around our own existence and our relationship with others, the universe at large and ourselves. Spirituality gives us an insight into ourselves and an understanding of us with others.
A study of older adults has indicated a diminishing interest in material goods and increased interest in reflection and satisfaction with life. At their time, many older adults might have experienced some encounters which to them appear supernatural. Such encounters could be in response to illness and other life altering situations.
Older adults experience an exaggerated sense of time with an emphasis on internal occurrences. Hence, spirituality by way of meditation, contemplation and reflection is healthy for older adults.
A research finding on religion and older adults threw up the following:
- Religion and associated activities are rated important among 9 of 10 older adults.
- Religion helps older people survive or come to terms with losses or difficulties.
- Religion and physical health have a positive relationship.
- Religion becomes increasingly important with time.
- When most needed, religion becomes inaccessible because of adverse circumstances such as immobility and failing health.
- Older adults have needs that are best addressed by the church.
- The majority of actively religious people are retired.
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