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- SPIRITUALITY AS A LIVED EXPERIENCE: EXPLORING THE ESSENCE OF SPIRITUALITY FOR WOMEN IN LATE LIFE.
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Delivery times may vary, especially during peak periods. Please note the delivery estimate is greater than 3 business days. Special financing available. Any international shipping and import charges are paid in part to Pitney Bowes Inc. Learn More - opens in a new window or tab International shipping and import charges paid to Pitney Bowes Inc. Religion and spirituality have also fueled human conflict for thousands of years. Our concern here is how religion and spirituality interact with aging: how aging affects religion and spirituality, and how religion and spirituality affect aging.
Religion is a social institution concerned with ultimate questions such as the meaning and purpose of life, the existence of a higher power, coping with the reality of suffering and death, the existence and nature of an afterlife, and what it means to lead a moral life. Religions are also social organizations that meet not only the need to join with other believers, but also various social needs such as comfort, aid, and social support.
Most American adults are associated with a local congregation of a major faith. Religious beliefs are among the most deeply held, and religion can be a source of both comfort and conflict. There are also people who attach no significance to religion. Religiousness is an individual attribute — the extent to which a person has internalized a religious culture and uses it to make decisions in their life. Spirituality is an experiential, inner aspect of consciousness. It is the capacity to experience the sacred directly.
For many people, the sacred can be experienced in an enormous variety of situations: nature, in relationships, in music, dance, and art, in religious devotions, in inspirational texts and orations.
The inner experience of spirituality and socially constructed religion are related for most people, and for some people are inseparable. But there are also people who consider themselves spiritual who disavow religion and still others who find neither term applies to them. In the US, a large majority of elders have had a lifelong identification with their religion and are long time members of their local religious group.
Local religious groups are the most common type of community organization member ship for middle aged and older people.
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About half of the general population attends religious services at least twice a month. The experiences of these women add to our understanding and knowledge concerning the spiritual lives of people as they age and in late life. While some of my findings support existing research on spirituality and aging, they also offer a needed depth of understanding into the individual lived experiences of spirituality, particularly for women in the oldest-oldest segment of the population.
This article is a result of my dissertation. I would like to thank Dr. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Int J Aging Hum Dev. Author manuscript; available in PMC Feb Lydia K. Manning , Ph. Author information Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Copyright notice. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Abstract Against the backdrop of a dramatic increase in the number of individuals living longer, particularly older women, it is vital that researchers explore the intersection of spirituality, gender, and aging. As a brief introduction, each woman was informed that the interviews would focus on three topics of discussion: their spiritual lives and experiences; how they experience their spirituality in later life; and what is meaningful and valuable about their spirituality.
Data Analysis As the in-depth interviews were being conducted to gather the lived experience of spirituality for the women in my study, I was able to engage in phenomenological reflection, or engaging in dialogue with each woman about her transcript, particularly in the follow-up interviews that occurred with each participant Van Manen, FINDINGS The purpose of this phenomenological investigation was to explore and understand the lived experience of spirituality for women in advanced age and to develop a textural what and structural how account of their experiences as they pertain to spirituality.
Spirituality as a Realm of Lived Experience After 12 months of data collection and analysis of 30 interviews, three essential and distinctive themes emerged and were subsequently selected from the data to illustrate the essential aspects of how spirituality is experienced for the women in this study: being profoundly grateful; engaging in complete acceptance; and having a strong sense of assuredness see Table 1.
Open in a separate window. Being Profoundly Grateful The women in this study reported feeling a deep connection with the Transcendent or God. In addition, she is thankful to be here another day: I am very grateful for my father because he did treat us right; made us mind. Cora wishes she could have been more accepting earlier in life: My relationship with my mother was always a little strained.
For example, Betty explains: The older I got and the more I traveled and was exposed to the world and its many different religions, the more open and accepting I became to the way people are in the world and the way they believe. Additionally, Gloria describes how she is more tolerant and open in later life, linking this acceptance to her spirituality: At my age now I am much more tolerant and interested in the lives of others. Having a Strong Sense of Assuredness The women possess considerable strength and credit this to their belief in and relationship with God.
Inner strength as a theme is captured in the experiences of Minnie as she talks about the origins and sources of her strength: I get my strength from the Lord … my belief and faith.
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She explains: I guess my strength comes from my serenity. In search for meaning: The differential role of religion for the middle-aged and older persons diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Social forces and aging: An introduction to social gerontology. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth; Spirituality, meaning, and the experience of aging. Spirituality and aging. Uncovering spiritual resiliency through feminist qualitative methods.
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Religion, Spirituality, and Aging - Sociology of Religion - iResearchNet
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