Care of elderly people

Elizabeth MacKinlay

in Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199571390
Published online August 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199665037 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbook in Public Health

Care of elderly people

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  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Palliative Medicine


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With increasing longevity comes increasing diversity of this latter part of the life cycle. Increased life-span has come for most people, with better physical health, but perhaps a lack of sense of purpose and meaning in societies that devalue older people. Mental health issues assume enormous importance in gauging the ability of older people to continue to live independently and to flourish. The ability to continue to live independently, even when living alone is important for wellbeing. Entry to residential aged care is often due to issues related to dementia, such as agitation, incontinence, or increasing functional decline. Palliative care for older people who are dying from any cause, including those who have dementia and are frail, should be readily available; spiritual care has the potential to enhance the final life journey and needs to be an intrinsic component of palliative care. Recognizing the spiritual dimension and fostering continuing spiritual growth in later life become important aspects of achieving wellbeing. This chapter addresses major challenges of growing older in early twenty-first-century western countries. We suggest that by focusing on spiritual growth and spiritual care of elderly people, some of the challenges of growing older can be mitigated with enhanced focus on strategies that support and strengthen spiritual well-bring.

Chapter.  5887 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Palliative Medicine

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